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ALSO  FROM  POCKET  BOOKS— THE  DEFINITIVE 
WORK  OF  AMERICAN  TRUE  CRIME 

$7.99  U.S. 

$10  99  CAN  ^^  STRANQER  BESIDE  ME 

Ann  Rule's  chilling  account  of 
knowing  Ted  Bundy — now  updated! 

ANN  RULE  TAKES  YOU  TO  THE  HEART  OF  TODAY'S  MOST 
PROVOCATIVE  CASES  IN  THESE  RIVETING  BESTSELLERS 

TOO  LATE  TO  SM  QOODBYE 

QREE^N  RIVER,  RUNNINQ  RED  •  HEART  FULL  OF  LIES 

WITHOUT  PITY  •  EVERY  BREATH  YOU  TAKE 

. , .  AND  NEVER  LET  HER  QO  •  BITTER  HARVEST 

DEAD  BY  SUNSET  •  EVERYTHINQ  SHE  EVER  WANTED 

IF  YOU  REALLY  LOVED  ME 

READ  HER#1  BESTSELLING  CRIME  FILES  SERIES 

MORTAL  DANQER  •  SMOKE,  MIRRORS,  AND  MURDER 
NO  REQRETS  •  WORTH  MORE  DEAD 
KISS  ME,  Kill  ME  •  LAST  DANCE,  LAST  CHANCE 
EMPTY  PROMISES  •  A  RAQE  TO  KILL 
THE  END  OF  THE  DREAM 
IN  THE  NAME  OF  LOVE 
A  FEVER  IN  THE  HEART 

YOUBELONQTOME 
AROSEFORHERQRAVE 


AND  COMING  SOON  IN  HARDCOVER 

Ann  Rule  exposes  long-buried  secrets  inside 

a  shattering  homicide  case — the  strange  and 

violent  death  of  a  female  state  trooper — in 

SCALES  OF  JUSTICE 


^ 


EAN 


PRAISE  FOR 

"AMERICA'S  BEST  TRUE-CRIME  WRITER" 

(Kirkus  Reviews) 

AND  HER  #1  NEW  YORK  TIMES 

BESTSELLING  SERIES 

ANN  RULE'S  CRIME  FILES 

Fourteen  riveting  volumes  of  true-crime  stories 
drawn  from  her  personal  collection 

"Chilling  cases.  ...  A  frightening,  fascinating  rogue's  gal- 
lery of  mercenary  murderers."  — Mystery  Guild 

"Prolific  and  talented  Rule  proves  her  warranted  reputation 
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— Publishers  Weekly  (starred  review) 

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lievable human  beings  is  perfectly  embodied  in  this  sad, 
fascinating  account."  — Library  Journal 

"Gripping  tales.  .  .  .  Fans  of  true  crime  know  they  can  rely 
on  Ann  Rule  to  deliver  the  dead-level  best." 

—The  Hartford  Courant  (CT) 


MORE  MUST-READ  TRUE  CRIME 

FROM  ANN  RULE— DON'T  MISS  THESE 

CELEBRATED  BESTSELLERS 

Ann  Rule  worked  the  late-night  shift  at  a  suicide 

hotline  with  a  handsome,  whip-smart  psychology 

major  who  became  her  close  fiiend.  Soon  the  world 

would  know  him:  Ted  Bundy,  one  of  the  most 

savage  serial  killers  of  our  time. . . . 

THE  STRANGER  BESIDE  ME 

Now  in  an  updated  edition! 

"A  shattering  story  .  .  .  carefully  investigated,  written  with 
compassion  but  also  with  professional  objectivity." 

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fascinating  killer  in  modern  American  history.  ...  As 
dramatic  and  chilling  as  a  bedroom  window  shattering  at 
midnight."  — The  New  York  Times 

TOO  LATE  TO  SAY  GOODBYE 

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tale  of  how  law  enforcement  coordinated  information  from 
two  deaths  separated  by  nearly  a  decade  to  convict  Bart 
Corbin  of  murder. . . .  Prepare  yourself  for  a  few  late  nights 
of  reading."  — Bookreporter.  com 


GREEN  RIVER,  RUNNING  RED 

"[Rule]  conveys  the  emotional  truth  of  the  Green  River 
case."  — Los  Angeles  Times 

"Riveting.  .  .  .  Rule  infuses  her  case  study  with  a  person- 
ally felt  sense  of  urgency."  —People 

HEART  FULL  OF  LIES 

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— The  Washington  Post 

"Fascinating. . , .  The  sheer  weight  of  [Rule's]  investigative 
technique  places  her  at  the  forefront  of  true-crime  writers." 

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EVERY  BREATH  YOU  TAKE 

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— Washington  Post  Book  World 

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. .  ,AND  NEVER  LET  HER  GO 

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embellishment."  — People 

"[Rule]  might  have  created  her  masterpiece." 

— The  Plain  Dealer  (Cleveland) 

"Even  crime  buffs  who  followed  the  case  closely  [will] 
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"[Rule]  tell[s]  the  sad  story  with  authority,  flair,  and  pace." 

— The  Washington  Post 


BOOKS  BY  ANN  RULE 

Too  Late  to  Say  Goodbye 

Green  River,  Running  Red 

Every  Breath  You  Take 

Heart  Full  of  Lies 

. .  .  And  Never  Let  Her  Go 

Bitter  Harvest 

Dead  by  Sunset 

Everything  She  Ever  Wanted 

If  You  Really  Loved  Me 

The  Stranger  Beside  Me 

Possession 

Small  Sacrifices 

Ann  Rule  s  Crime  Files 
Vol.  13:  Mortal  Danger  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.  12:  Smoke,  Mirrors,  and  Murder  and  Other 

True  Cases 
Vol.  1 1 :  No  Regrets  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.  10:  Worth  More  Dead  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    9:  Kiss  Me,  Kill  Me  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    8:  Last  Dance,  Last  Chance  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    7:  Empty  Promises  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    6:  A  Rage  to  Kill  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    5:  The  End  of  the  Dream  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    4:  In  the  Name  of  Love  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    3:  A  Fever  in  the  Heart  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    2:  You  Belong  to  Me  and  Other  True  Cases 
Vol.    1 :  A  Rose  for  Her  Grave  and  Other  True  Cases 

Without  Pity:  Ann  Rule's  Most  Dangerous  Killers 

The  1-5  Killer 

The  Want- Ad  Killer 

Lust  Killer 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 
in  2011 


http://www.archive.org/details/butitrustedyouOOannr 


BUT  I 

TRUSTEDYOU 

AND  OTHER  TRUE  CASES 

ANN  RUl£'S  CRIME  FILES:  Vol.14 


^ 


*  POCKET  BOOKS 


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Pocket  Books 

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The  names  of  some  individuals  have  been  changed.  Such  names  are 
indicated  by  an  asterisk  (*)  the  first  time  each  appears  in  the  narrative. 

Copyright  ©  2009  by  Ann  Rule 

All  rights  reserved,  including  the  right  to  reproduce  this  book  or 
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Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America 

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ISBN  978-1-4165-4223-0 

ISBN  978-1-4391-6054-1  (ebook) 


To  the  late  Sheriff  Chris  Hansen 

of  Montcalm  County,  Michigan,  my  grandfather. 

Our  grandfather  inspired  me  and  all  my  cousins 

with  his  ability  to  talk  to  almost  anyone, 

his  understanding  of  human  nature,  his  skill 

as  an  investigator,  and  his  compassion. 

Many  decades  ago,  Robert  Ripley  chose 

Chris  Hansen  for  his  feature  "Believe  It  or  Not " 

because  he  never  had  to  fire  his  gun  during  his  long 

career  as  a  lawman.  The  Hansen  descendants  are 

spread  all  over  America  now,  and  most  of  us  chose 

to  be  police  officers,  lawyers,  social  workers, 

prosecutors,  parole  and  probation  officers, 

teachers,  or  writers. 

We  all  owe  a  lot  to  our  grandfather, 
a  Danish  immigrant  who  settled  in  Michigan! 


Acknowledgments 


There  are  so  many  cases  in  But  I  Trusted  You,  and  so  many 
real  people  in  each  of  them,  that  this  will  be  a  long  list.  I 
could  not  possibly  have  learned  this  many  details  without  a 
great  deal  of  help  from  detectives,  prosecutors,  witnesses, 
jurors,  and  victims'  families. 

Thank  you  to  Brad  Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  of  the  Snohom- 
ish County  Sheriff's  Office,  Eloise  Schumacher  and  Peyton 
Whitely  of  the  Seattle  Times,  Susan,  Lieutenant  Frank 
Chase,  Ted  Forrester,  Rolf  Grunden,  Bruce  Morrison,  Jerry 
Harris,  Mike  Gillis,  Harlan  Bollinger,  Len  Randall,  Mark 
Fern,  and  the  late  Sam  Hicks  of  the  King  County  Sheriff's 
Office.  Billy  Baughman,  Dick  Reed,  Ted  Fonis,  Wayne  Dor- 
man,  "Bud"  Jelberg,  Bob  Holter,  and  John  Boatman  from 
the  Seattle  Police  Department,  and  to  Sergeant  L.  E.  Robin- 
son of  the  Enumclaw  Police  Department  and  Park  Ranger 
Harry  De  Lashmutt.  Chief  of  detectives  Bill  Patterson  of 
the  Chelan  County  Sheriff's  Office  helped  me  a  great  deal, 
and  so  did  Lieutenant  Walt  Kezar  of  the  Oregon  State  Po- 
lice, the  Oregon  State  Board  of  Parole,  and  special  thanks 
to  Rob  Romig  of  the  Eugene  Register-Guard. 


XI 


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Thanks  to  Chuck  Wright,  Gerry  Hay  (my  first  reader, 
always),  Ken  Heide,  Donna  Anders,  Kate  Jewell,  Shirley 
Hickman,  Marni  Campbell,  Mike  Hare,  and  all  the  Jolly 
Matrons  from  Willamette  University  and  the  University  of 
Washington  (faded  but  still  lovely):  Joan  Kelly,  Susie  Mor- 
rison, Betty  May  Settecase,  Shirley  Coffin,  Alice  Govig, 
Sue  Dreyer,  Tricia  Potts,  Val  Szukavathy,  Gail  Bronson, 
and  Shirley  Jacobs. 

To  Dawn  and  Gary  Dunn,  Matt  Parker,  Justin  Robison, 
and  to  the  ARFs  (Ann  Rule  Fans — long  may  they  wave!). 
And  my  gratitude  to  those  readers  who  haven't  yet  become 
certified  ARFs  knows  no  bounds.  I  couldn't  have  even  one 
book  without  you. 

My  thanks  to  my  longtime  literary  agents — Joan  and 
Joe  Foley,  my  theatrical  agent — Ron  Bernstein  of  ICM, 
my  editor — Mitchell  Ivers,  and  to  Jessica  Webb,  who 
helped  me  every  step  of  the  way!  My  attorney,  Felice 
Javits,  checks  everything  I  write  to  be  sure  it  is  absolutely 
factual. 

I  haven't  forgotten  the  production  crew  at  Pocket  Books, 
who  remind  me  graciously  about  looming  deadlines:  Carly 
Sommerstein,  Sally  Franklin,  Lisa  Litwack,  and  Ayelet 
Gruenspecht. 

Th^nk  you  also  to  Theresa  Leonard,  Sandy  Biscaro,  and 
Reisa  Schmidt. 


xii 


BUT! 

TRUSTEDYOU 


Contents 


Foreword 
1 

But  I  Trusted  You 

7 

Death  in  Paradise: 

The  Haunting  Voyage  of  the  Spellbound 

175 

Sharper  than  a  Serpent's  Tooth 

213 

Monohan's  Last  Date 

253 

Run  as  Fast  as  You  Can 

303 

The  Deadly  Voyeur 

339 

Dark  Forest:  Deep  Danger 

369 


Foreword 


There  are  infinite  variations  on  the  motive,  means,  and 
excuses  for  the  darkest  crime  of  all:  murder.  Some  are  un- 
premeditated and  leave  the  killer  full  of  remorse,  while 
other  homicides  sink  to  the  crudest  depths  imaginable  and 
the  murderers  feel  absolutely  no  twinge  of  conscience. 
Most  of  us  would  be  capable  of  taking  another  person's 
life,  but  only  to  save  ourselves  or  someone  vulnerable. 
Mothers — ^both  human  and  animal — kill  without  a  thought 
to  protect  their  young.  And  that  isn't  truly  murder.  Sol- 
diers shoot  to  kill  on  the  battlefield,  and  police  officers 
sometimes  have  no  choice  but  to  use  deadly  force.  Any 
cop  will  tell  you  that  the  officer  who  is  responsible  for  a 
death  in  the  line  of  duty  "suffers  as  much  or  more  than  the 
criminal." 

"Conscience  doth  make  cowards  of  us  all,"  William 
Shakespeare  wrote  in  Hamlet.  But  he  was  wrong.  There 
are  human  beings  who  have  no  conscience.  They  don't 
feel  remorse,  or  regret,  or  guilt  about  the  horrible  crimes 
they  have  committed.  They  may  shed  crocodile  tears,  and 
they  cry  when  they  are  caught,  but  they  weep  only  for 
themselves. 

1 


FOREWORD 

The  cases  in  this  book — ranging  in  time  from  a  few 
years  ago  to  more  than  three  decades  into  the  past — are 
about  homicides  that  were  both  devious  and  comphcated. 
The  killers  planned  their  crimes,  and  drew  victims  in  to  a 
point  where  they  placed  their  confidence  in  someone  who 
was  both  sly  and  deadly.  In  hindsight,  their  machinations 
seem  blatant  and  easy  to  recognize. 

But  in  the  beginning,  their  "masks,"  and  their  ability  to 
say  just  the  right  thing  at  the  right  time,  were  often  impen- 
etrable. 


The  longest  case,  and  the  title  case  I  explore  in  But  I 
Trusted  You,  is  about  a  couple  whose  meeting  was  ro- 
mantic, whose  marriage  seemed  fated,  and  whose  final 
separation  was  unbelievable.  They  had  it  all — at  least  to 
anyone  looking  at  them  ft"om  the  outside  of  their  relation- 
ship, and  even  to  many  who  knew  them  well.  Of  the  two, 
the  husband  seemed  the  more  bizarre.  He  often  watered 
their  lawn  or  picked  up  the  morning  paper  in  minimal 
clothing,  but  their  neighbors  had  long  since  become  used 
to  it.  His  jubilant  personality  won  them  over. 

The  couple  lived  in  a  kind  of  fishbowl.  From  the  living 
room  of  their  charming  house  on  a  picturesque  lake,  visi- 
tors could  peer  through  the  glass  floor  and  view  the  king- 
sized  waterbed  below. 

He  was  a  school  counselor,  and  she  operated  a  small 
resale  shop — modest  and  respectable  professions,  and  yet 
theirs  is  one  of  the  strangest  and  most  multifaceted  stories 
I  have  ever  come  across. 

"Death  in  Paradise"  may  not  have  been  a  betrayal  of 


FOREWORD 

trust  at  all;  perhaps  what  happened  in  the  tropical  waters 
off  Papeete  was  only  a  sad  series  of  accidents.  I  have  to 
admit  that  we  may  never  know  the  complete  truth,  but  the 
ill-fated  journey  of  the  Spellbound  will  never  be  erased 
from  my  own  memory — not  until  the  hidden  aspects  of  a 
case  that  sounds  more  like  fiction  than  fact  are  revealed.  It 
will  undoubtedly  haunt  you,  too,  just  as  it  haunts  those 
who  survived. 

In  "Sharper  than  a  Serpent's  Tooth,"  1  explore  another 
case  of  a  disappearance  that  suggested  a  violent  and 
deadly  end.  No  one  knew  for  sure  if  Lorraine  Millroy  left 
her  comfortable  home  of  her  own  volition  or  if  she  had  no 
choice.  She  had  many  of  the  usual  problems  that  divorced, 
middle-aged  women  face.  Still,  she  wasn't  depressed,  or, 
rather,  she  didn't  seem  to  be.  Family  problems  cropped  up 
occasionally,  but  money  wasn't  an  issue.  On  a  bitter  cold 
night,  detectives  searching  her  home  for  some  hint  of 
where  she  might  be  came  across  items  of  evidence  that 
gave  them  a  sense  of  foreboding.  As  anxious  as  they  were 
to  locate  Lorraine,  whether  she  was  alive  or  dead,  they 
hoped  they  hadn't  focused  on  the  right  suspect.  It  was 
someone  whom  Lorraine  loved,  counted  on,  held  high 
hopes  for,  and,  yes,  trusted. 

"Monohan's  Last  Date"  reflects  the  mores  of  a  brief 
period  in  American  history.  The  1 960s  were  all  about  the 
love  generation,  but  as  the  decade  eased  into  the  1970s, 
love  gave  way  to  an  intense  curiosity  about  sex.  Cosmo- 
politan editor  Helen  Gurley  Brown  shocked  America  with 
her  book  Sex  and  the  Single  Girl  in  1962.  Her  basically 
innocuous  book  opened  up  the  floodgates.  Masters  and 
Johnson's  research  and  subsequent  publications  shocked 


FOREWORD 

the  public  deliciously,  and  The  Joy  of  Sex  came  along  ten 
years  later,  along  with  the  movie  Bob  and  Carol  and  Ted 
and  Alice. 

"Swinging"  and  "wife  swapping"  intrigued  couples 
whose  marriages  had  become  mundane,  but  in  most  cases 
the  results  were  disastrous,  and  it  wasn't  long  before  they 
ended  up  in  divorce  court. 

In  "Monohan's  Last  Date,"  a  highly  successfiil  business 
man,  who  had  been  recently  divorced,  became  involved 
with  a  group  of  swingers  through  a  magazine  called  The 
Seekers.  Their  leader  was  friendly  and  fast-talking,  and  his 
CB  handle  was  "Dudley  Do-Right "  Frank  Monohan  liked 
him  and  his  lifestyle,  and  he  saw  no  danger  behind  "Dud- 
ley's" broad  smile. 

But,  of  course,  there  was.  Frank  Monohan  placed  his 
confidence  in  the  wrong  man. 

This  case  began  in  the  thick  brush  at  the  summit  of 
a  lonely  mountain  pass,  stumped  detectives  in  four 
jurisdictions — including  the  FBI — and  led  them  on  a 
four-year  chase  across  the  United  States.  But,  in  the  end, 
they  untangled  the  mystery  of  a  peculiar  liaison  that  led 
inexorably  to  murder. 

In  "Run  as  Fast  as  You  Can,"  a  killer's  motivation  can  be 
traced  directly  to  a  horrific  bloody  attack  he  witnessed  as  a 
small  child.  Whether  any  amount  of  counseling  might  have 
mitigated  the  psychological  damage  he  suffered  is  a  moot 
point.  His  parents  were  brilliant  and  wealthy,  and  they  lived 
in  an  upscale  neighborhood  near  a  scenic  park.  His  many 
trips  to  the  waterfront  park  seemed  a  totally  wholesome 
pastime.  In  reality,  he  was  there  to  watch  and  to  stalk,  hid- 
ing in  the  trees  and  shrubs  while  he  chose  his  targets. 


FOREWORD 

"The  Deadly  Voyeur"  demonstrates  that  we  are  often 
most  in  danger  when  we  fee!  safe.  Everyone  should  set  an 
alarm  bell  in  their  subconscious  minds.  If  they  are  sud- 
denly threatened  or  accosted,  they  will  then  have  an  auto- 
matic plan  to  use  in  those  precious  seconds  they  have  to 
escape  from  a  potentially  deadly  situation.  If  they  don't 
make  the  right  choice,  they  are  trapped.  The  young  couple 
who  met  a  prowling  monster  were  not  prepared  for  such 
an  event.  Even  in  their  worst  nightmares,  they  couldn't 
have  imagmed  there  were  minds  like  his. 

"Dark  Forest:  Deep  Danger"  is  about  a  case  I  first  in- 
vestigated in  the  1970s.  In  some  sense,  it  remains  almost 
as  mystifying  today  as  it  was  then.  Even  so,  as  I  reinves- 
tigated this  inscrutable  tragedy,  I  may  have  come  upon  an 
answer  to  what  happened  to  a  family  of  four  who  went 
into  an  Oregon  forest  to  have  a  picnic  and  an  outdoor 
adventure. 

And  vanished. 

As  time  went  by,  they  were  found,  but  the  discovery 
only  brought  about  more  questions.  Perhaps  a  reader  will 
have  the  answers  that  will  finally  put  a  horrendous  mys- 
tery to  rest  forever.  Possibly  readers  will  agree  with  my 
theory. 


BUT  I  TRUSTED 
YOU 


Chapter  One 


The  slender  strawberry  blonde  and  the  school 
counselor  whose  home  was  three  thousand  miles  away  in 
Washington  State  met  in  such  a  seemingly  romantic  way 
that  they  seemed  destined  to  be  with  one  another:  he  was 
in  New  Orleans  for  a  ten-day  educational  conference,  and 
she  was  a  concierge  at  a  fine  hotel  in  the  Mardi  Gras  city. 
It  would  have  been  better,  perhaps,  if  his  judgment  hadn't 
been  somewhat  obscured  by  the  romance  of  it  all.  In  retro- 
spect, she  undoubtedly  knew  exactly  what  she  was  doing. 
It  was  1988  when  their  story  began.  Teresa  Gaethe  was 
twenty-seven  then,  and  she  had  deep  roots  in  Louisiana 
and  Florida.  Trying  to  trace  those  roots,  however,  is  almost 
impossible.  Gaethe  was  her  first  husband's  surname;  her 
maiden  name  was  probably  Jones,  but  she  didn't  tell 
Charles  "Chuck"  Leonard  that.  She  said  her  maiden  name 
was  Goldstein  before  she  married  a  stock  broker  named 
Gary  Gaethe,  and  she  subtly  alluded  to  her  family's 
wealth,  only  the  first  of  the  many  exaggerations  and  down- 
right lies  she  would  tell  Chuck.  Teresa's  family — two 
sisters  and  a  brother,  and  her  parents — met  Gary  Gaethe 
only  twice,  once  before  she  married  him  and  once  again 


ANN  RULE 

when  they  attended  their  daughter's  wedding.  Teresa  said 
she  and  Gary  had  lived  aboard  a  wonderful  sailboat  during 
their  brief  marriage. 

It  was  a  somewhat  bizarre  celebration.  Lois  Patois,* 
Teresa's  older  sister  who  had  always  tried  to  look  after  her 
siblings,  recalled,  "My  whole  family  went  to  Teresa's 
wedding,  and  there  was  a  gentleman  that  had  come  down 
from  like  a  balcony  area,  and  he  had  a  gun — a  big  gun." 

From  then  on,  Teresa's  family  wondered  if  their  sister's 
bridegroom  was  involved  in  some  things  that  "weren^t 
normal."  Teresa  said  nothing  to  disabuse  them  of  that  im- 
pression; she  enjoyed  having  mysteries  in  her  life.  She 
stayed  married  to  Gary  Gaethe  less  than  two  years,  actu- 
ally living  with  him  for  only  a  few  months. 

As  they  sipped  cocktails  far  into  the  night,  Teresa  gave 
Chuck  the  impression  that  she  worked  not  out  of  necessity 
but  because  she  enjoyed  interacting  with  the  guests  who 
patronized  the  hotel  where  she  was  employed. 

When  Chuck  told  her  that  he  had  a  master's  degree 
from  a  highly  rated  Jesuit  college — Seattle  University — 
and  that  he  was  working  to  be  qualified  as  a  school  princi- 
pal, she  volunteered  that  she  had  a  college  degree.  She 
probably  didn't,  but  following  her  tangled  background  to 
its  sources  is  akin  to  untangling  a  ball  of  yam  after  a  kitten 
is  through  playing  with  it. 

Teresa  was  five  feet,  six  inches  tall,  but  she  was  small- 
boned  and  sometimes  appeared  to  be  far  more  delicate 
than  she  really  was.  In  truth,  she  had  a  backbone  of  steel 
and  usually  got  what  she  wanted.  Her  green  eyes  gave  her 
a  seductive  quality.  She  knew  how  to  attract  and  please 

*The  names  of  some  individuals  have  been  changed.  Such  names  are  indicated  by  an 
asterisk  (*)  the  first  time  each  appears  in  the  narrative. 

10 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

men,  and  she  spent  a  great  deal  of  time  on  her  clothes, 
hair,  and  makeup.  Sometimes,  she  looked  like  Sharon 
Stone,  and  then  again  she  could  be  as  guileless  and  inno- 
cent as  Doris  Day. 

She  had  a  cute  little  pug  nose  and  thick  blond  hair,  and 
a  good,  if  somewhat  boyish,  figure.  She  kept  her  nails  long 
and  lacquered  bright  red.  But  she  wasn't  technically  beau- 
tiful; she  also  had  a  "spade  chin,"  too  elongated  for  her 
face  to  be  perfect,  and  she  didn't  like  her  nose. 

Haltingly,  Teresa  told  Chuck  that  she  felt  lucky  to  be 
alive;  she  said  she  had  survived  open-heart  surgery  when 
she  was  a  child,  but  she  assured  him  that  she  was  in  good 
health  now.  She  showed  him  the  scars  left  from  her  cardiac 
operations,  and  he  worried  about  her.  He  thought  she 
might  be  protesting  too  much  when  she  said  she  had  no 
lingering  effects  from  such  drastic  surgery  at  a  young  age. 

Chuck  Leonard  was  a  very  complicated  man.  He  was  a 
natural-born  caretaker,  but  he  was  also  something  of  a  he- 
donist. Chuck  Leonard  was,  as  his  sister,  Theresa  (with  a 
name  close  to  Teresa)  said,  "a  rescuer."  He  was  five  years 
older  than  his  only  sibling  and  he'd  always  been  a  caring 
big  brother  and  he  liked  that  role.  The  women  in  his  life 
tended  to  be  younger  than  him — and  somewhat  dependent 
and  needy. 

Probably  Teresa  Gaethe  appealed  to  him  both  because 
she  was  very  attractive  and  because  she  seemed  lost  and  in 
need  of  a  strong  shoulder  to  lean  on.  It  may  have  been  the 
story  she  told  him  about  her  bad  heart. 

More  likely,  it  was  because  Teresa  was  skilled  at  figuring 
out  what  different  men  wanted.  And  she  quickly  deduced 


11 


ANN  RULE 

that  Chuck  wanted  someone  who  needed  him,  women  he 
could  mentor  into  a  more  Hilfilling  life.  And,  in  certain 
ways,  Teresa  fit  into  that  category. 

Like  Gary  Gaethe,  Chuck  Leonard  was  twenty  years 
older  than  Teresa,  but  he  didn't  act  or  look  his  age.  He  had 
a  trim,  muscular  build,  and  handsome  even  features  with 
clear  light  eyes  beneath  hooded  lids.  Chuck  had  a  thick 
head  of  hair  that  his  barber  cut  in  the  latest  style.  Some- 
times he  had  a  crew  cut,  and  occasionally,  he  let  it  grow 
below  his  ears  and  down  to  his  shoulders.  When  Teresa 
met  him,  he  had  a  thick,  brushlike  mustache. 

During  the  many  evenings  they  spent  together,  he  told 
her  about  his  waterfront  home  in  Washington  State,  his 
great  job  with  the  school  district,  his  airplane,  and  his  vin- 
tage sports  cars.  That  was  all  true,  but  Chuck's  cars  and 
plane  were  older  models.  And  he'd  built  his  house  and 
property  into  what  they  were  by  dint  of  his  own  hard 
physical  labor. 

Teresa  assumed  he  was  wealthy.  One  Washington  de- 
tective surmised  that  each  of  them  thought  the  other  had 
no  money  problems.  'Tn  the  end,  they  both  got  fooled — 
but  Chuck  got  fooled  more." 

Actually,  Chuck  didn't  care  if  Teresa  had  money,  and  he 
didn't  deliberately  mislead  her.  He  was  making  a  fairly 
good  salary,  and  he  was  able  to  afford  those  things  he  ' 
wanted.  He  owned  property  beyond  the  house  he  remod- 
eled, and  he  lived  comfortably. 

Oddly,  Teresa  told  Chuck  she  was  two  years  older  than 
she  really  v/as — a  switch  on  the  usual  adjustments  women 
make  to  their  true  ages.  Perhaps  she  wanted  him  to  think 
that  their  ages  weren't  that  far  apart. 

12 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

When  Teresa  and  Chuck  fell  in  love  his  friends  thought 
it  was  because  of  a  mutual  physical  attraction  and  not  be- 
cause either  was  a  fortune  hunter.  Or  so  it  seemed.  In  retro- 
spect, one  could  wonder  if  Teresa  would  have  allowed 
herself  to  become  deeply  involved  with  Chuck  so  rapidly  if 
she  knew  he  didn't  really  have  the  assets  of  a  truly  wealthy 
man.  But  she  did  miss  him  a  lot  when  the  educational  con- 
ference ended  and  he  flew  back  to  Washington. 

He  missed  her  more.  Chuck  wrote  to  Teresa  three  times 
a  day,  mailed  sentimental  cards,  and  sent  her  flowers  from 
his  own  garden,  careftilly  packed  in  green  tissue  paper 
with  water-filled  glassine  tubes  so  that  they  arrived  in 
good  condition. 

Teresa's  heart  wasn't  totally  devoted  to  Chuck  Leonard. 
In  1987,  before  she  met  Chuck,  she  had  carried  on  an  in- 
tense aifair  with  another  man  for  six  months.  His  name 
was  Nick  Callas,*  and  she'd  met  him  when  she  went  to 
Hawaii  to  work.  Callas  was  a  realtor  and  Teresa  went  to  his 
office  inquiring  about  housing.  They  were  both  single  and 
they  could  not  deny  the  immediate  chemistry  between 
them. 

But  after  six  months  Nick  still  hadn't  made  any  move 
toward  a  permanent  relationship,  so  Teresa  returned  to 
New  Orleans.  They  exchanged  cards  and  phone  calls  from 
time  to  time.  After  she  met  Chuck,  Teresa  wrote  to  Nick 
and  told  him  that  she  would  be  living  in  Washington  State. 

Not  long  after,  Callas  married  someone  else.  And  he 
lived  even  farther  away  from  New  Orleans  than  Chuck 
did — in  Hawaii.  Nick  was  the  same  age  as  Chuck,  but  be- 
yond that  they  didn't  resemble  each  other.  Callas  was  well 
on  his  way  to  becoming  rich,  while  money  mattered  little 

13 


ANN  RULE 

to  Chuck.  Like  most  men  of  Greek  heritage,  Callas  was 
dark  and  swarthy,  and  boldly  handsome,  with  a  head  of 
thick  wavy  black  hair. 

Teresa  tended  to  gravitate  toward  older  men;  the  three 
she  was  closest  to  were  all  almost  two  decades  older  than 
she  was.  Perhaps  she  was  searching  for  a  father  figure.  As 
the  doors  of  her  secret  life  slowly  opened  over  the  years, 
one  could  understand  why. 

Gary,  Nick,  and  Chuck  all  fit  that  role;  they  were  all 
kind  to  her  and  concerned  about  her — at  least  initially. 

Teresa  knew  Nick  was  wealthy  because  he'd  shown  her 
many  of  the  properties  he  owned.  She  sometimes  won- 
dered what  her  life  would  have  been  like  if  Nick  had  cho- 
sen her  instead  of  his  wife,  Grace.* 

Eventually,  in  about  1989,  Nick  seemed  to  disappear 
from  Teresa's  life.  After  her  loneliness  and  frustration  in 
trying  to  balance  not  one  but  two  long-distance  relation- 
ships, it  wasn't  difficult  for  Chuck  to  persuade  Teresa  to 
visit  him  at  his  Snohomish  County  home  on  Lake  Good- 
win near  Stanwood,  Washington.  She  had  been  married 
once,  and  Chuck  had  one  or  two  ex -wives,  but  he'd  been 
divorced  for  years. 

"Chuck  thought  he  had  found  his  soul  mate,"  his  sister 
Theresa  said.  "Teresa  came  out  for  Thanksgiving  in  No- 
vember 1988." 


Chuck  had  seemed  to  be  a  confirmed  bachelor  for  de- 
cades. His  first  wife,  Reisa,  had  been  a  sixteen-year-old 
high  school  student  and  he'd  been  twenty-one  when  he 
proposed. 

14 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"It  wasn't  romantic  at  all,"  Reisa  recalled.  "We'd  been 
dating  and  I  knew  Chuck  wanted  to  avoid  being  drafted 
and  sent  to  Vietnam.  He  didn't  want  to  go  to  Canada,  ei- 
ther. He  picked  me  up  at  school  one  day  and  told  me  we 
were  going  to  get  married,  and  if  I  didn't  say  yes,  he  would 
find  another  girl." 

Reisa  wasn't  happy  at  home  and  she  did  care  about 
Chuck,  so  she  agreed.  Chuck  wasn't  nearly  ready  to  settle 
down,  but  their  marriage  did  delay  his  being  drafted  for  a 
few  more  years.  However,  they  had  no  children  and  even- 
tually Chuck's  draft  number  came  up.  He  was  sent  to  Fort 
Lewis — south  of  Tacoma,  Washington,  for  training. 

Reisa  Leonard  was  very  fond  of  Chuck's  family.  She 
and  his  sister  Theresa  bonded,  and  she  liked  his  natural 
mother,  Ann,  who  was  ftin  to  be  around.  Chuck's  father, 
Fred,  resembled  Humphrey  Bogart  with  his  cigarette  hang- 
ing from  his  mouth.  "He  was  a  good-looking  man,"  Reisa 
said,  "and  he  was  interesting." 

And  so  was  his  son,  who  always  had  some  new  plan 
and  was  filled  with  energy. 

"When  Chuck  was  at  Fort  Lewis,  he  got  a  brilliant 
idea,"  Reisa  recalled.  "Those  poor  kids  from  the  Midwest 
missed  their  mothers'  cooking,  so  Chuck  went  into  the  pie 
business.  Ann  made  wonderful  pies,  and  she  taught  me 
how  to  make  them,  too.  We  would  make  a  bunch  of  them 
and  take  them  to  Chuck  at  Fort  Lewis.  He  sold  out  of  his 
locker  for  a  good  profit." 

But  it  was  against  army  rules,  and  his  sergeant  found 
out  and  made  Chuck  eat  all  the  pies  left  in  his  locker. 

Chuck  was  sent  to  Germany.  In  one  of  his  few  senti- 
mental gestures  toward  Reisa,  he  gave  her  an  engagement 

15 


ANN  RULE 

ring  and  wedding  ring  he'd  won  playing  cards  in  his  bar- 
racks. She  was  touched,  even  though  the  set  had  only 
small  diamond  chips. 

After  almost  four  years,  Reisa  and  Chuck's  marriage 
died  of  its  own  weight,  and  they  divorced.  Although  she 
stayed  close  to  Theresa,  Reisa  went  thirty-five  years  with- 
out seeing  her  young  ex-husband.  She  took  a  job  with  the 
Kitsap  County  Sheriff's  Office,  married  twice  more,  and 
had  a  son. 

Whether  Chuck  Leonard  married  again  before  he  met 
Teresa  Gaethe  is  questionable.  He  did  have  a  daughter  dur- 
ing one  of  his  short  affairs,  but  they  were  not  close.  When 
she  grew  up,  she  looked  for  him  and  they  had  begun  a  ten- 
tative relationship  that  looked  promising. 

Teresa  totally  captivated  Chuck,  and  for  the  first  time  in 
decades  he  actually  thought  about  forming  a  permanent 
bond  with  a  woman. 

WTien  Teresa  saw  Chuck's  house,  she  was  impressed. 
Painted  a  soft  gray,  it  rose  three  stories  and  was  set  right 
on  the  lake.  A  small  emerald  velvet  plateau  of  grass  paral- 
leled the  shoreline;  it  looked  as  if  it  had  been  trimmed 
with  manicure  scissors.  Chuck  was  a  perfectionist  when  it 
came  to  things  like  his  house,  his  property,  and  his  cars. 
He  obviously  had  a  green  thumb;  there  were  flowers 
blooming  all  over  his  property,  along  with  pine,  cedar,  and 
fir  trees.  He  was  justly  proud  of  his  home.  He  explained  to 
Teresa  that  he  had  built  it  from  a  cabin,  digging  out  the  hill 
at  the  lake  level  to  facilitate  two  extra  floors.  It  was  beauti- 
fully maintained  and  welcoming,  even  though  it  wasn't 
quite  the  big  lodge  that  Teresa  had  pictured  in  her  mind. 


16 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

And  she  had  no  intention  of  becoming  a  gardener;  it 
would  ruin  her  nails. 

Still,  she  told  Chuck  that  she  was  very  impressed  with 
his  house  and  landscaping  and  praised  him  for  his  work  on 
the  place. 

Chuck  had  excellent  taste  in  furniture,  and  he'd  hung 
his  grandmother's  oil  paintings.  His  former  girlfriends 
had  picked  out  rugs,  lamps,  and  other  items  that  didn't 
always  match.  The  result  was  eclectic,  but  it  comple- 
mented the  inside  of  the  lake  house,  just  as  the  landscap- 
ing did  the  exterior. 

Teresa  didn't  know  anything  about  cars,  so  she  didn't 
realize  Chuck's  prize  Porsche  was  powered  by  a  Volkswa- 
gen engine.  He  had  had  sports  cars  since  he  was  a  young 
man  and  took  pride  in  his  expertise  at  rebuilding  engines 
and  other  car  parts.  Some  of  Chuck's  detailing  of  his  assets 
had  been  all  flash  and  little  substance,  but  he  obviously 
loved  his  home,  his  cars,  and  his  plane. 

And  he  couldn't  do  enough  to  make  Teresa  happy. 
Heretofore  a  ladies'  man  who  often  dated  several  women 
in  the  same  time  period.  Chuck  Leonard  was  bedazzled  by 
his  Southern  love.  He  believed  her  when  she  told  him  she 
was  Jewish  and  her  family  name  was  Goldstein,  and 
warned  his  parents  and  other  relatives  not  to  serve  pork  or 
ham  for  Thanksgiving.  He  gave  Teresa  Hannukah  cards, 
and  did  everything  he  could  to  acknowledge  her  religion. 
What  her  purpose  was  in  claiming  to  be  Jewish  remains  a 
mystery;  sometimes  it  seemed  that  she  just  enjoyed  being 
untruthful — it  gave  her  some  kind  of  control. 

"She  was  aloof,"  Chuck's  sister  recalled,  "even  though 


17 


ANN  RULE 

everyone  tried  to  please  her,  and  we  carefully  followed 
whatever  Jewish  customs  Chuck  said  were  important  to 
her." 

Teresa  seemed  to  care  for  Chuck,  and  he  adored  her — 
and  that  was  what  mattered  to  his  family. 

Chuck's  sister  Theresa  noted  almost  immediately  that 
Chuck's  new  bride  was  nice  enough  to  her  when  he  was 
around,  but  dismissive  when  they  were  alone.  As  long  as 
Theresa  agreed  with  her  new  sister-in-law,  things  went 
fairly  well.  And  yet  she  sensed  an  odd  seething  anger  just 
below  Teresa's  surface. 

"She  could  cut  you  out  of  her  life  and  be  incredibly 
cold,"  Chuck's  sister  said.  "She  kept  me  at  arm's  length.  I 
hated  that  we  had  the  same  name." 

Theresa  wondered  why  Teresa  didn't  try  a  little  harder 
to  fit  in  with  the  family.  Chuck's  relatives  had  been  pre- 
pared to  welcome  his  new  love,  but  she  was  more  often  a 
prickly  pear  with  them  instead  of  an  affectionate  relative. 
She  was  warm— even  seductive — with  Chuck  and  his 
father.  The  older  man  was  quite  taken  with  her. 

At  first. 


18 


Chapter  Two 


Teresa  never  returned  to  New  Orleans  to  live,  and 
she  visited  only  once  more.  Her  sister,  Lois,  who  grew  up 
to  marry  a  sergeant  with  the  Louisiana  State  Police  and  to 
teach  children  with  special  needs,  talked  about  the  terror 
she  and  her  two  sisters  had  suffered  in  their  home.  No  one 
ever  helped  them  because  they  didn't  tell.  They  were 
raised  never  to  confront  their  father — Ervin  R.  Jones — 
who  was  a  steamship  captain  for  the  Lykes  Brothers 
Steamship  Company  when  they  were  small  and  was  rarely 
home.  Later,  his  daughters  longed  for  those  days. 

The  three  younger  children  were  girls,  and  they  had  a 
brother,  Frank,*  who  was  eight  years  older  than  Lois. 
Teresa  was  six  years  younger  than  Lois,  and  Macie*  was 
the  youngest. 

There  was  information  that  suggested  Ervin  Jones  had 
fathered  a  child  outside  of  his  marriage — a  boy.  He  had 
written  tuition  checks  to  a  private  boys'  school  for  a  long 
time. 

It  would  be  many  years  before  the  Jones  girls'  memo- 
ries were  voiced.  There  were  secrets  upon  secrets  in  their 
home — which  looked,  from  the  outside,  like  a  typical 

19 


ANN  RULE  ^■ 

middle-class  family  lived  there.  This  is  so  often  true: 
shame  and  fear  keep  sexual  abuse  victims  silent. 

Teresa's  mother's  maiden  name  wasn't  where  Teresa  got 
the  Jewish  name  she  preferred.  Her  mother's  maiden  name 
wasn't  Gloria  Goldstein;  it  was  Gloria  Sheehan  in  some 
documents,  a  good  solid  Irish  name.  On  her  birth  certifi- 
cate, Gloria's  last  name  is  listed  as  Miecikowski. 

Teresa  told  Washington  acquaintances  that  she  and  her 
mother  went  to  Texas  every  year  on  vacation — just  the  two 
of  them.  That  wasn't  true. 

Gloria  Jones  passed  away  of  cirrhosis  of  the  liver  in 
October  1990,  and  Teresa  flew  back  to  New  Orleans  for 
the  fiineral.  Her  sisters  picked  her  up  and  they  sat  together 
in  the  funeral  parlor. 

They  didn't  have  long  to  talk.  Lois  and  Macie  weren't 
really  sure  where  Teresa  had  been  over  the  years.  The 
sisters  were  together  only  sporadically  and  much  of  her 
life  was  a  mystery  to  them.  Lois  was  very  surprised  when 
Teresa  told  her  she  had  a  son,  and  his  name  was  Taylor. 
Lois  couldn't  recall  later  if  she  had  seen  Taylor's  photo- 
graph, but  she  didn't  think  she  had. 

Two  years  later,  their  father  died  in  December  1992.  He 
also  had  cirrhosis  of  the  liver.  Teresa  didn't  go  to  his  fti- 
neral.  All  three  sisters  mourned  their  mother,  but  not  their 
father.  They  blamed  him  for  their  mother's  death,  and  for 
their  own  years  of  abuse  at  his  hands.  Teresa  said  she 
didn't  even  know  where  he  was  living  when  he  passed 
away,  "somewhere  in  the  Midwest." 

By  the  time  her  parents  died,  Teresa  was  so  removed 
from  her  family  emotionally  and  geographically  that  local 


20 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

police  in  Washington  State  had  to  track  her  down  and  no- 
tify her  of  their  passing. 

Teresa  Jones  aka  Gaethe  aka  Goldstein  and  Chuck 
Leonard  were  living  together  on  Lake  Goodwin.  They  co- 
habited for  more  than  a  year  before  Chuck  agreed  to 
marry  her.  He  had  some  reservations,  but  he  loved  her  and 
thought  they  could  work  out  whatever  problems  they  had 
once  they  were  married. 

Chuck's  friends  were  often  baffled  by  some  of  Teresa's 
stories  which  seemed  to  have  no  basis  in  fact.  She  told  them 
she  was  a  "world-class  water-skier,"  but  even  though  she 
and  Chuck  lived  on  a  lake,  no  one  ever  saw  her  water-ski — 
or  snow-ski  in  the  Cascade  Mountains. 

"She  also  told  us  that  she  was  due  to  come  into  a  huge 
inheritance,"  a  female  neighbor  said.  "But  as  far  as  I  know, 
it  never  happened." 

Chuck  and  Teresa  had  set  a  date  for  their  wedding: 
June  1990.  The  wedding  itself  would  be  a  simple  "city 
haH"-type  of  ceremony  with  friends  as  witnesses.  But 
that  would  be  followed  a  few  days  later  by  a  large  recep- 
tion for  family  and  friends  at  the  lake  house. 

"It  was  almost  as  if  they  had  a  secret  ceremony,"  Chuck's 
sister  remembers. 

Teresa  didn't  invite  any  of  her  family  members  to  either 
her  civil  wedding  or  to  the  reception.  Her  mother  was  ill, 
and  she  didn't  want  her  father  there.  As  it  turned  out,  the 
Joneses  of  Louisiana  weren't  nearly  as  wealthy  as  Teresa 
had  implied.  She  came  from  a  working-class  clan,  and 
she'd  had  to  work.  Chuck  could  not  have  cared  less.  He 
was  happy  to  take  care  of  her. 


21 


ANN  RULE 

After  their  wedding,  Chuck's  smile  was  even  wider 
than  usual  as  he  posed  in  his  wedding  tuxedo,  a  sprig  of 
lily-of-the-valley  in  his  lapel  and  his  new  gold  wedding 
band  gleaming  on  his  finger. 

Their  wedding  reception  at  Chuck's  Lake  Goodwin 
home  began  with  a  lot  of  laughter  and  toasts  as  Chuck's 
friends  arrived  to  congratulate  them.  Oddly,  the  new 
bride  had  hired  a  bouncer  to  be  present  at  the  reception. 
He  was  a  tall,  muscular  man  she  worked  with  at  the  Bon 
Marche  department  store. 

There  was  one  very  embarrassing  incident  at  the  recep- 
tion. One  of  Chuck's  neighbors,  an  old  friend  named  Jan, 
brought  an  uninvited  date.  She  was  one  of  Chuck's  many 
former  girlfriends.  Everybody  else  who  showed  up  was 
welcome.  It  wasn't  as  if  Teresa's  security  guard  was  check- 
ing off  names  at  the  front  door,  and  it  had  been  a  long  time 
since  Jan's  date  had  dated  Chuck.  They  hadn't  even  gone 
out  for  long.  Even  so,  Teresa  was  livid,  wild  with  jealousy. 
She  asked  her  bouncer  to  throw  Jan  and  the  woman  out. 
Incredulous  and  humiliated,  they  left,  along  with  several 
of  the  other  guests,  who  moved  the  party  down  the  street 
to  Jan's  house. 

Chuck  was  mortified  by  the  whole  episode. 

The  next  day,  Jan  came  by  to  talk  with  Chuck.  "You've 
made  a  big  mistake,"  he  told  Chuck. 

Rather  than  being  angry.  Chuck  answered  sadly,  "I 
know." 

And  suddenly.  Chuck  disappeared  for  two  or  three  days 
to  decide  what  to  do  about  his  fledgling  marriage  and 
Teresa's  bizarre  behavior. 

"He  was  gregarious  and  had  lots  of  friends,"  his  sister 

22 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

recalled.  "But  he  was  a  private  person,  and  incredibly  in- 
trospective." 

It  would  have  been  impossible  for  Chuck  not  to  dis- 
cover some  of  Teresa's  lies.  She  had  brought  her  car  with 
her  when  she  moved  from  New  Orleans  to  Washington 
State,  and  then  it  disappeared.  She  told  everyone  that  it 
had  been  stolen. 

"That  wasn't  the  case,"  one  neighbor  said.  "It  was  re- 
possessed." 

Chuck  had  never  thought  to  check  out  Teresa's  back- 
ground; he'd  always  taken  her  at  her  word,  even  when  her 
past  seemed  tilted  and  full  of  missing  pieces.  So  far,  none 
of  the  half-truths  had  hurt  their  relationship  severely 
enough  to  drive  them  apart.  He  pondered  his  choices  and 
realized  he  still  loved  her 

Chuck  came  back  from  his  solitary  trip.  After  much 
thought,  he  had  decided  to  stay  with  Teresa,  but  he  had 
glimpsed  a  side  of  her  he  hadn't  really  recognized  before. 
She  resented  not  only  his  former  girlfriends  but  also  his 
male  friends.  He  realized  that  if  she  had  her  way,  he  would 
cut  them  all  completely  out  of  his  life.  He  wasn't  about  to 
do  that. 

According  to  his  sister  and  many  of  his  close  friends. 
Chuck  Leonard  was  "bigger  than  life."  He  got  along  with 
everyone. 

"That  was  what  drew  people  to  him,"  Theresa  said.  "He 
always  had  a  laugh,  a  broad  smile,  and  a  complex  inner 
life." 

"But  Teresa  was  nasty  to  everyone,"  the  same  neighbor 
said.  "And  sarcastic.  She  ignored  Chuck's  friends.  The 
men  didn't  like  her,  and  she  made  their  wives  cry.  She 


ANN  RULE 

would  say  things  like  'Oh,  are  we  having  a  nice  day?'  but 
it  didn't  sound  like  she  cared — it  was  sarcastic  and  deri- 
sive." 

Teresa  was  much  harder  to  read  than  Chuck.  It  was  dif- 
ficult to  know  just  what  she  was  feeling.  Sometimes  it  was 
impossible  for  her  sister-in-law  to  make  eye  contact  with 
her.  Teresa's  expression  was  a  mask — a  facade,  blocking 
anyone  from  getting  close  to  her. 

Now  that  she  and  Chuck  were  married,  it  seemed  that 
Teresa  set  out  to  deliberately  alienate  his  friends'  wives 
and  fiancees  even  more.  The  men  naturally  opted  out  of 
the  Leonards'  social  circle  when  the  women  in  their  lives 
weren't  welcome  or  came  away  hurt  or  insulted  by  the  way 
Teresa  had  treated  them. 

Chuck  and  his  sister  Theresa  had  grown  up  in  the  navy 
base  town  of  Bremerton,  Washington,  and  he  was  "ex- 
tremely loyal"  to  his  friends.  Even  though  the  paths  of 
their  lives  had  diverged,  once  someone  was  Chuck  Leon- 
ard's friend,  he  remained  so.  Some  of  them  went  back  to 
his  childhood  and  he  cherished  them.  One  of  his  closest 
friends  had  been  a  best  pal  back  in  Bremerton  when  they 
were  fourteen. 

But  as  Teresa  insulted  more  and  more  people.  Chuck's 
world  became  smaller.  He  didn't  always  know  what  she 
had  done  or  said  to  hurt  people,  but  she  was  adept  at  mak- 
ing others  feel  unwelcome. 

Her  pattern  was  much  like  that  of  men  who  "own"  the 
women  in  their  lives.  Teresa  succeeded  in  isolating  Chuck 
from  a  large  number  of  the  people  who  mattered  to  him. 
Still,  once  committed,  he  was  determined  to  make  their 
marriage  work.  He  made  excuses  for  her  behavior — if  only 

24 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

to  himself.  She  had  had  a  difficult  life,  full  of  illness  and 
sadness  before  he  had  "rescued"  her,  and  he  kept  believing 
she  would  change  if  only  she  felt  safe  enough  with  him. 

Chuck  continued  counseling  teenagers — first  at  Cascade 
High  School,  and  then  at  North  Middle  School. 

Left  behind  in  his  desk  at  the  former  school  was  a  love 
letter  from  some  woman  in  his  life.  Teresa  didn't  know 
about  that,  and  it  probably  wasn't  important  to  him.  If  it 
had  been,  he  would  have  taken  it  with  him. 

But  Teresa  was  suspicious  of  Chuck's  contact  with  any 
female  over  sixteen.  She  told  people  that  Chuck  had  been 
seen  behaving  inappropriately  with  one  of  his  female  stu- 
dents. This  wasn't  true. 

In  some  ways,  Teresa  appeared  to  be  a  good  sport. 
When  she  had  realized  that  she  would  have  to  work  to  help 
pay  their  bills,  she'd  found  a  ftill-time  position  as  a  Liz 
Claiborne  specialist  at  the  Bon  Marche  (now  Macy's)  in  a 
nearby  shopping  mall.  She  was  an  excellent  saleswoman, 
bonding  with  a  loyal  clientele,  and  she  did  well  with  her 
salary  and  commissions.  She  was  always  impeccably 
dressed  with  perfect  hair  and  makeup. 

Teresa  Jones-Goldstein-Gaethe-Leonard  was  a  woman 
of  many  names,  many  faces,  and  many  moods.  She  may 
well  have  had  more  surnames  than  even  Chuck  knew 
about.  One  of  Chuck's  friends  said  a  long  time  later  that 
she  had  seen  a  suitcase  belonging  to  Teresa  that  was  fiill  of 
papers  and  cards  for  different  identities. 

She  was  a  seductress  of  both  men  and  women — if  not 
physically,  then  psychologically.  Teresa  had  an  innate  abil- 
ity to  recognize  what  people  wanted  fi-om  her,  and  could 
use  that  to  get  back  what  she  sought  from  them. 

25 


ANN  RULE  -  ^ 

A  number  of  women  who  knew  Teresa  described  her  as 
"sweet."  She  was  popular  with  most  of  her  female  cowork- 
ers and  friends,  especially  those  who  were  younger  and  far 
less  experienced  than  she  was.  She  became  a  role  model 
for  them.  They  thought  her  life  sounded  so  exciting  and 
listened  avidly  as  she  related  fascinating  anecdotes.  They 
believed  her  without  questioning. 

Basically,  Teresa  was  a  "man's  woman,"  and  didn't  care 
all  that  much  for  women,  unless  they  were  in  a  position  to 
better  her  life. 

With  her  female  friends,  her  mien  was  either  that  of  a 
naive,  \nilnerable  woman — a  role  in  which  she  was  also 
believable — or  she  was  a  living,  walking  soap  opera  for 
female  friends  whose  own  lives  weren't  nearly  as  interest- 
ing as  hers. 

One  of  Teresa's  customers  at  the  Bon  Marche  became  a 
very  close  friend.  Joyce  Lilly*  dropped  by  regularly  to  buy 
Liz  Claiborne  products,  and  they  often  had  lunch  together. 
Eventually,  Joyce,  too,  got  a  job  at  the  Bon  Marche,  and 
their  friendship  became  even  closer. 

Teresa  hinted  to  a  few  intimate  friends  that  she  had 
suffered  at  the  hands  of  men.  She  was  attracted  to  men, 
but  deep  down  she  didn't  trust  them.  It  gave  her  a  com- 
mon ground  of  experience  with  a  lot  of  women  she  met, 
and  those  who  had  bad  experiences  with  men  were  drawn 
to  her. 

Still,  she  couldn't  see  a  way  to  have  the  kind  of  life  she 
wanted  without  letting  down  her  guard  with  certain  men. 
For  the  moment,  Teresa  felt  Chuck  was  the  man  who  could 
help  her  the  most.  Like  almost  all  the  other  men  in  her  life, 
he  was  considerably  older  that  she  was.  She  appealed  to 

26 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

older  men,  and  may  have  sought  them  out — looking  for  a 
father  figure  to  cherish  her. .  .  or  to  punish. 

Chuck  Leonard  was  undecided  about  having  children; 
he  was  past  forty  and  he  had  never  particularly  wanted 
children  of  his  own.  When  he  was  much  younger,  he  had 
fathered  his  daughter,  who  was  placed  for  adoption.  He 
wasn't  mature  enough  to  be  a  parent  then.  Chuck  cared  a 
lot  about  the  teenagers  he  counseled  and  showed  affection 
and  concern  for  them.  It  was  a  moot  point  anyway,  be- 
cause Teresa  had  confided  to  him  she  could  not  have  chil- 
dren. 

That  wasn't  the  truth,  however;  Teresa  had  never  been 
told  she  was  barren.  And  she  had  confided  to  someone  she 
worked  with  that  she  hoped  to  have  a  child  or  children. 

"Children  open  doors  for  you,"  she  said.  The  other 
woman  had  no  idea  what  Teresa  meant. 

Teresa's  relationship  with  her  sister-in-law  remained 
abrasive  and  dismissive.  Neither  trusted  the  other  very 
much,  and  Chuck's  sister  worried  about  her  brother's  hap- 
piness. Maybe  the  two  women — Teresa  and  Theresa — 
were  just  too  different.  Like  Chuck,  his  sister  was  highly 
educated,  a  no-nonsense  woman  who  was  independent  and 
capable. 

She  also  tried  to  make  excuses  for  Teresa.  It  might  be 
possible  that  Chuck's  new  wife  was  trying  too  hard  to  es- 
tablish her  position  with  him  and  as  part  of  the  family. 
Perhaps  she  was  shy  and  awkward  in  social  relationships, 
although  that  seemed  unlikely.  Theresa  backed  off,  always 
hoping  that  one  day  they  might  become  friends. 

"Teresa  liked  to  give  people  advice,"  Theresa  Leonard, 
who  has  a  master's  degree  in  psychology,  said.  "So  I  made 

27 


ANN  RULE 

a  point  of  asking  her  opinion  on  decorating  and  clothes, 
and  things  like  that,  hoping  it  might  give  us  something  in 
common.  But  it  didn't." 

It  came  to  a  point  where  Chuck's  sister  no  longer  saw 
him  and  his  wife  very  often. 

Theresa's  efforts  to  bond  somehow  with  Chuck's  wife 
became  even  more  important  when  Teresa  and  Chuck  an- 
nounced nineteen  months  after  their  wedding  that  they 
were  expecting  a  baby. 

Theresa  became  "Aunt  Theresa."  At  least  it  helped  to 
spell  out  which  one  of  them  was  Chuck's  sister  and  which 
one  was  his  wife. 

And  so  it  turned  out  that  Teresa  was  not  infertile  after 
all.  (What  had  become  of  her  son  Taylor — if,  indeed,  he 
had  ever  existed — ^no  one  knew.  Probably  Chuck  never 
even  heard  of  this  son  Teresa  told  her  sister  about.) 

Chuck  was  taken  completely  off  guard  by  her  preg- 
nancy. She  had  flat-out  lied  to  him  about  her  ability  to  bear 
a  child,  and  she'd  made  many  visits  to  a  fertility  expert 
without  telling  Chuck. 

At  this  point,  he  was  quite  willing  to  accept  a  baby  into 
his  life,  realizing  this  might  be  his  last  chance  to  actually 
raise  a  child.  He  wasn't  sure  how  Teresa  felt  about  being 
pregnant. 

Even  though  she  had  visited  doctors  so  that  she  could 
bear  a  child,  now  that  she  was  pregnant,  Teresa  acted  as  if 
she  was  ambivalent  about  the  prospect. 

Chuck  told  Teresa,  "It's  up  to  you  if  you  want  to  keep  it 
or  not.  I'll  go  along  with  whatever  you  decide." 

She  considered  having  an  abortion,  but  finally  decided 
to  have  the  baby. 

28 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Teresa's  labor  was  induced  on  December  30,  1991.  Te- 
resa was  annoyed  at  what  she  considered  Chuck's  insensi- 
tivity  when  he  dashed  out  to  get  fast  food  and  brought  it 
back  to  the  labor  room  to  eat  when  she  was  in  pain.  She 
later  said  her  labor  progress  stalled  and  her  obstetrician 
decided  her  pelvic  canal  was  too  narrow  to  deliver  her 
baby,  necessitating  a  caesarean  section.  Again,  she  lied; 
she  delivered  normally. 

She  gave  birth  to  a  daughter,  whom  they  named  Morgan. 
Her  father  and  mother  both  adored  her.  Chuck,  especially, 
was  thrilled  with  his  beautiful  baby  girl  and  spent  hours 
gazing  at  her. 

"He  was  over  the  top  in  love  with  her,"  his  sister  said. 
"He'd  never  realized  it  would  be  that  way." 

As  Morgan  grew  bigger,  he  took  her  to  the  lake  in 
warm  weather  and  watched  as  she  paddled  around;  he 
took  her  to  fairs,  where  she  rode  on  the  merry-go-round, 
and  to  his  school  to  show  her  off  to  his  fellow  teachers.  It 
was  clear  that  Chuck  Leonard  loved  every  minute  of  being 
a  father,  much  to  his  own  surprise. 


Teresa  had  experienced  labor  once  (possibly  twice),  and 
she  didn't  want  to  go  through  it  again.  During  a  routine 
checkup  after  Morgan's  birth,  her  gynecologist  found  that 
she  had  a  small  fibroid  tumor.  Many  women  develop  fi- 
broids in  their  thirties  and  forties,  but  they  are  almost 
never  cancerous  and  invariably  shrink  after  menopause. 
Teresa  didn't  have  heavy  bleeding  with  her  periods  or  any 
of  the  other  indications  that  the  fibroids  were  large 
enough  to  necessitate  removing  her  uterus.  Even  so,  she 

29 


ANN  RULE 

demanded  a  hysterectomy,  and  she  was  resolute  about  her 
decision. 

Once  more,  Chuck  acceded  to  her  decision  and  she  got 
her  way,  but  she  asked  about  having  her  eggs  saved  and 
frozen,  just  in  case  she  wanted  to  use  them  in  the  future. 
Teresa  had  a  partial  hysterectomy  in  July  1993.  At  her  re- 
quest, her  surgeon  left  one  ovary  and  one  fallopian  tube. 
She  would  still  have  plenty  of  female  hormones,  and 
would  produce  viable  eggs — which  could  be  implanted 
into  another  woman's  uterus  by  an  in  vitro  process.  She 
could  never  carry  a  child  herself,  but  through  modem 
technology,  she  would  be  able  to  be  the  biological  mother 
of  a  child. 

To  the  casual  observer,  the  Leonards  appeared  to  be  a 
happy  couple.  Teresa  didn't  want  to  work  full-time  away 
from  home  now  that  she  had  Morgan,  so  with  Chuck's 
blessing,  she  rented  some  space  in  a  shedlike  building  in 
the  nearby  small  town  of  Marysville,  Washington,  and 
opened  a  store  called  The  Consignment  Shop. 

She  painted  it  pink  and  decorated  the  windows  and  the 
building  itself  with  cartoon  drawings  of  fashionably 
dressed  women.  Teresa  told  a  lot  of  people  she  owned  a 
"boutique,"  but  that  was  stretching  the  meaning  consider- 
ably. 

Many  hamlets  in  Snohomish  County  had  become  mec- 
cas  for  shoppers  seeking  out  antiques,  vintage  jewelry,  and 
gently  used  high-end  clothing  lines.  The  stores  flourished 
when  shoppers  from  Seattle,  Bellingham,  and  even  British 
Columbia  discovered  them  and  told  their  friends. 

Teresa  brought  in  a  number  of  her  wealthy  customers 
from  the  Bon  Marche;  she'd  kept  her  customer  list.  She 

30 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

was  clever  at  deciding  what  would  sell  in  her  tiny  store, 
and  she  kept  careful  records  of  items  people  had  left  for 
her  to  sell  on  contingency.  Some  of  her  Bon  Marche  cus- 
tomers placed  expensive  clothing  and  other  treasures  with 
her.  When  something  sold,  she  kept  a  small  percentage  of 
the  price  and  gave  the  rest  to  the  seller.  She  enjoyed  her 
small  business,  and  while  she  wasn't  making  a  munificent 
living,  she  did  well  enough  to  buy  things  for  Morgan  and 
clothes  for  herself,  and  eventually  to  hire  employees. 

Teresa's  shop  worked  well  for  her  because  she  had  a  real 
knack  for  putting  together  outfits  for  would-be  customers. 
Teresa  could  take  a  plain  dress,  add  a  scarf  or  some  jewelry 
and  a  coordinating  purse — all  secondhand — and  make  it 
look  like  a  thousand-dollar  outfit.  She'd  always  done  that 
with  her  own  clothes,  and  now  she  used  her  talent  in  her 
consignment  store.  She  was  extremely  professional,  even 
waxing  the  clothes  racks  so  that  garments  slid  easily,  and 
she  kept  meticulous  books  so  that  she  could  pay  her  bills 
and  her  consignors  promptly. 

Most  important  to  Teresa,  she  could  take  Morgan  to 
work  with  her;  her  two  clerks  or  friends  who  dropped  by 
were  there  to  share  the  babysitting  duties.  She  seemed  to 
be  a  good  mother,  almost  idolizing  Morgan.  Her  friends 
believed  that  Teresa's  whole  life  revolved  around  Morgan. 

And  so  did  Chuck's.  Morgan  always  seemed  delighted 
when  her  father  came  to  pick  her  up.  "She  was  maybe  a 
little  bit  spoiled,  though,"  one  woman  said.  "If  she  was 
playing  with  her  toys,  she  wouldn't  go  with  either  one  of 
them." 

There  was  no  question  that  both  Chuck  and  Teresa 
loved  their  small  daughter,  but  as  the  years  passed,  the 

31 


ANN  RULE 

bloom  was  fading  fast  from  their  love  for  each  other.  Of 
course  all  marriages  settle  in  as  the  years  pass,  and  the 
emotional  highs  and  lows  tend  to  smooth  out,  but  with  the 
Leonards,  it  was  more  than  familiarity  or  boredom.  Chuck 
had  always  been  the  man  in  charge,  someone  with  an  ex- 
pansive personality,  who  did  pretty  much  what  he  wanted 
to.  But  now,  his  friends  and  family  noted  that  Teresa  con- 
trolled him,  chose  which  of  his  friends  she  liked,  pouted 
when  she  didn't  get  her  way,  or,  worse,  flared  into  anger. 
Chuck  tried  hard  to  please  her  and  keep  a  semblance  of  a 
happy  home — mostly  for  Morgan's  sake. 

Chuck  was  willing  to  do  anything  to  be  able  to  stay 
with  Morgan. 


Teresa  began  to  think  a  lot  about  Nick  Callas,  wondering 
if  she  should  have  let  her  Hawaiian  love  go.  To  test  the 
waters,  she  sent  him  a  Christmas  card.  Nick  contacted  her 
and  they  renewed  their  friendship.  From  then  on,  Teresa 
and  Nick  stayed  connected,  but  he  remained  with  his  wife. 
Although  Grace  had  helped  Nick  get  a  foothold  in  busi- 
ness, it  was  his  skill  and  charisma  that  had  built  his  com- 
pany to  the  top  levels  it  now  reached.  By  1995,  he  owned 
prize  property  all  over  the  islands. 

There  was  no  question  that  Nick  Callas  was  rich 
enough  to  give  Teresa  all  the  luxuries  in  life  that  she 
longed  for,  along  with  credit  cards  and  a  healthy  stock 
portfolio.  They  began  an  intense  correspondence  and 
talked  about  meeting  once  again.  He  promised  to  send  her 
a  first-class  ticket  if  she  decided  to  come  to  Hawaii  to  visit 
him.  She  was  sorely  tempted. 

32 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Callas's  wife,  Grace,  often  went  to  southern  California 
with  their  adopted  son,  who  was  two  months  older  than 
Morgan.  Grace  was  a  nervous  woman  who  complained  of 
chronic  health  problems  and  stayed  with  her  sister  while 
she  sought  the  best  possible  medical  treatments. 

Nick  had  dated  many  willing  females  when  he  was  sin- 
gle, but  it  didn't  take  long  for  Teresa  to  rise  to  the  top  of 
his  list  as  a  lover.  He'd  never  forgotten  her,  but  he  had  cho- 
sen Grace,  and  her  family's  money  had  helped  him  in  his 
mortgage  and  real  estate  business. 

Like  Chuck,  Nick  was  easily  distracted  by  pretty 
women. 

Not  surprisingly,  Teresa's  marriage  to  Chuck  Leonard 
had  foundered,  growing  worse  each  year.  He  hadn't  been 
the  answer  to  her  search  for  happiness  after  all. 

Was  it  even  possible  for  Teresa  to  find  happiness?  She 
wanted  so  much,  and  it  didn't  appear  to  matter  to  her  what 
happened  to  people  who  got  in  her  way.  Now,  the  wants 
and  needs  of  Chuck  Leonard  or  even  her  own  daughter 
came  after  her  thirst  for  wealth  and  love.  She  felt  her  hus- 
band had  never  given  her  what  she  had  needed  and  ex- 
pected fi-om  him. 

Chuck  was  Chuck,  and  it  amazed  some  of  his  friends 
that  he  had  married  at  all:  they  knew  him  as  a  guy  who 
dated  many  women.  He  was  an  individual,  a  little  bizarre 
at  times.  He  was  a  free  spirit.  When  he  got  home  from 
work,  he  started  tossing  his  clothes  on  furniture  and  on  the 
floor  as  he  walked  through  his  house.  He  probably  would 
have  been  happier  in  a  tropical  climate.  His  neighbors  had 
long  since  grown  used  to  seeing  him  out  in  his  yard,  gar- 
dening or  watering  his  precious  grass  patch  next  to  the 

33 


ANN  RULE 

lake,  often  nearly  nude  in  a  bikini  bathing  suit  and  flip- 
flops.  It  had  never  really  bothered  anyone. 

He  was  a  good-natured  guy  and  a  good  neighbor. 
Chuck  was  far  handsomer  than  he  had  any  right  to  be  for  a 
man  of  his  age,  and  women  often  came  on  to  him.  In  the 
first  years  of  his  marriage,  he  began  a  physical  relation- 
ship with  a  female  coworker  whom  he'd  known  for  seven 
or  eight  years.  Her  name  was  Michelle  Conley,*  and  she 
was  an  attractive  teaching  intern,  a  few  years  older  than 
Teresa.  Michelle  responded  to  him  in  a  way  his  wife 
hadn't  for  a  long  time. 

They  first  became  intimate  when  Teresa  was  pregnant 
with  Morgan.  The  Leonards  had  something  of  an  open 
marriage.  Whether  they  both  knew  it  and  discussed  it  with 
one  another  is  questionable. 

At  least  outwardly,  neither  Chuck  nor  Teresa  appeared 
to  be  unhappy  with  their  relationship.  Chuck  had  a  real 
rapport  with  teenage  students,  and  his  counseling  helped 
many  of  them  who  were  suffering  through  some  of  the 
more  difficult  times  of  life.  He  had  saved  some  of  them 
from  suicide. 

Along  with  Morgan,  those  kids  gave  him  a  reason  to  be 
happy.  After  he  had  his  second  daughter,  no  one  could  say 
Chuck  hadn't  tried  to  keep  their  family  together,  even  if  it 
was  probably  because  he  loved  Morgan  so  much.  He  made 
no  promises  to  Michelle,  but,  as  Teresa  grew  colder  to 
him,  he  felt  closer  to  Michelle,  and  she  definitely  wanted 
to  marry  him  if  she  could.  The  more  Teresa  pulled  away 
from  him,  the  more  Chuck  sought  out  Michelle.  However, 
like  most  men,  he  wasn't  interested  in  getting  divorced 
and  remarried. 

34 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

There  was  Morgan  and  she  came  first. 

In  July  1992,  Chuck  and  Michelle  were  involved  in  an 
embarrassing  incident,  more  likely  to  happen  to  teenagers 
than  middle-aged  educators.  A  Marysville  police  officer 
approached  Chuck's  car  where  it  was  parked  on  a  quiet 
street  at  six  in  the  evening.  His  police  report  said  he 
found  Michelle,  whose  clothing  was  in  disarray,  sitting  on 
Chuck's  lap,  and  noted  that  Chuck  was  completely  naked. 
They  were  both  removed  from  the  vehicle,  handcuffed, 
and  placed  in  the  back  of  the  police  unit.  Michelle  was 
cited  for  disorderly  conduct,  and  Chuck  for  indecent  ex- 
posure. 

At  their  trial,  they  were  acquitted  of  the  charges.  But 
naturally,  Teresa  learned  of  the  incident  and  it  didn't  help 
their  already  teetering  marriage.  They  stayed  together  for 
a  few  more  years,  but  it  became  more  of  an  adversarial 
relationship,  held  together  only  by  their  shared  love  for 
Morgan. 

And  then,  quite  suddenly,  the  Leonard  marriage  was 
over.  Teresa  had  seen  brighter  prospects  on  the  horizon: 
she  was  in  touch  regularly  with  Nick  Callas.  Nick  was  rich 
now,  and  it  didn't  matter  to  Teresa  that  he  was  married. 

In  early  1995,  Teresa  took  three-and-a-half-year-old 
Morgan  and  moved  out  of  Chuck's  house  at  Lake  Good- 
win into  an  apartment  on  Everett  Mall  Way,  an  hour's 
drive  away. 

Teresa  had  written  to  Nick  Callas,  telling  him  that  she 
was  coming  to  Hawaii  with  a  friend  and  she  would  like  to 
see  him.  He  responded  with  plane  tickets  and  the  promise 
of  a  place  for  them  to  stay. 

It  hadn't  taken  long  for  Teresa  to  feel  quite  secure  in  her 

35 


ANN  RULE 

affair  with  Nick  Callas,  and  she  fully  expected  they  would 
marry  in  the  foreseeable  future.  She  invited  Joyce  Lilly  to 
join  her  on  a  vacation  to  Maui  in  February  1995,  the  first 
of  four  trips  to  Hawaii  where  Joyce  accompanied  her. 
Over  the  next  two  years,  Teresa  would  visit  Callas  once  a 
month  or  more. 

The  two  women  would  stay  in  one  of  Nick's  more  luxu- 
rious condominiums,  and  when  they  arrived,  there  were 
exotic  fresh  flowers  waiting  for  them  in  the  Napili  Shores 
condo.  Nick  came  by  a  few  hours  later,  and  Joyce  watched 
as  he  and  Teresa  hugged  and  kissed,  and  then  Teresa  sat  on 
his  lap  while  the  three  visited. 

The  next  morning,  Joyce  was  awakened  at  5:30  a.m.  by 
someone  sitting  on  her  bed.  It  was  Nick,  who  apologized 
profusely.  He  had  meant  to  wake  Teresa  up.  He  moved  to 
the  other  bed,  wakened  her  gently,  and  then  the  two  of 
them  walked  out  to  the  veranda. 

Joyce  realized  that  Teresa  wasn't  exaggerating  about 
her  affair  with  Nick  Callas;  they  certainly  seemed  to  be 
entranced  with  one  another.  By  July  1995,  Teresa  confided 
that  Nick  sent  her  the  monthly  first-class  tickets  to  Maui, 
and  checks  for  $1,000  to  $1,250  as  regularly.  During  the 
weeks  that  Chuck  had  custody  of  Morgan,  she  would 
sometimes  spend  several  days  in  Hawaii  with  Nick. 

When  Teresa  was  in  Washington,  despite  Nick's  in- 
volvement in  his  many  business  interests,  they  usually 
called  each  other  up  to  ten  times  a  day.  Nick  called  Teresa 
more  than  she  called  him,  but  they  were  constantly  in  con- 
tact. Nick  would  recall  later  that  they  talked  mostly  about 
his  son  Jack*  and  Morgan. 

"Sometimes  we  talked  about  movies,"  Nick  remem- 

36 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

bered.  "We  had  brief  calls  that  ended  when  someone  came 
into  her  little  shop,  or  people  walked  into  my  office,  but 
sometimes  we  talked  for  a  couple  of  hours." 

In  July  1995,  Teresa  filed  for  divorce. 

Teresa's  divorce  action  against  Chuck  seemed  to  be 
more  a  threat  than  a  reality.  In  any  event,  neither  Teresa 
nor  Chuck  pursued  it  avidly.  Chuck  consulted  an  attorney, 
who  advised  him  to  keep  the  divorce  unsettled.  That 
would  establish  a  pattern  of  joint  custody  and  help  him 
gain  custody  of  Morgan. 

After  much  wrangling,  they  worked  out  a  grudging 
custody  arrangement,  agreeing  that  Morgan  would  stay 
with  each  of  them  during  alternate  weeks.  As  long  as 
Chuck  knew  that  his  little  girl  was  living  close  by,  he 
would  do  whatever  was  necessary  to  be  with  her,  even  stall 
a  divorce  that  he  wanted  as  much  as  Teresa — or  more. 

Morgan  gave  Teresa  leverage  with  Chuck,  and  she  felt 
confident  that  he  would  do  what  she  wanted:  all  she  had  to 
do  was  threaten  to  take  Morgan  far  away  from  him.  And 
that  is  what  she  planned  to  do — but  not  yet. 

Morgan  had  become  a  pawn,  someone  Teresa  could  use 
to  advance  her  own  goals.  She  seemed  unable  to  under- 
stand that  taking  Chuck  away  from  Morgan,  robbing  her 
of  her  father,  would  be  a  cruel  thing  to  do — and  a  great 
loss  in  her  daughter's  life.  Teresa's  Hawaiian  lover  could 
never  care  for  the  child  the  way  Morgan's  real  father  did. 
Nick  had  never  even  seen  Morgan,  although  Teresa  had 
met  his  little  boy  a  few  times. 

Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  had  a  plan  in  mind,  but  the  lo- 
gistics involved  were  going  to  be  tricky.  Until  she  was  ab- 
solutely sure  that  she  had  a  safe  and  luxuriant  landing 

37 


ANN  RULE 

place,  she  was  not  going  to  divorce  Chuck.  Her  lover, 
Nick  Callas,  was  still  very  married.  Although  she  didn't 
admit  it  to  her  friends,  Nick  and  she  had  never  even  dis- 
cussed his  getting  divorced. 

Teresa  was  even  a  business  boost  for  Nick.  She  worked 
as  an  outside  salesperson  for  Orca  Travel  and  she  often 
connected  clients  and  her  lover  when  they  were  looking 
for  high-end  housing  in  Hawaii.  The  referrals  she  occa- 
sionally sent  him  were  a  good  cover,  too.  Although  Nick 
had  special  phone  lines  set  up  for  them  to  talk,  if  Grace 
ever  wondered  about  the  calls,  he  would  say  that  Teresa 
was  a  business  contact. 

Nick  continued  to  buy  Teresa  round-trip  tickets  to  Ha- 
waii, she  had  an  American  Express  card  with  his  name  on 
it,  and  he  provided  lodging  in  one  of  his  plush  condos 
whenever  she  could  fly  to  the  islands.  But  he  was  content 
with  the  way  things  were,  and  he  believed  she  was,  too. 
Among  her  many  talents,  she  was  a  persuasive  actress. 

Teresa  was  the  perfect  mistress.  She  never  discussed 
anything  depressing  with  Nick.  "Teresa  shares  only  posi- 
tive things  with  me,"  he  said  once,  "not  negative  things." 

In  the  two  years  of  their  passionate  affair,  he  learned 
virtually  nothing  about  her  early  years  in  Louisiana  with 
her  family.  If  Nick  asked  her  anything  about  them,  she  be- 
came quiet — but  offered  no  information.  There  were  se- 
crets within  secrets  in  her  past  that  Nick  didn't  know,  and 
Teresa  meant  to  keep  it  that  way. 

In  Nick  Callas 's  memory,  they  hadn't  talked  about  any 
unhappy  aspects  of  their  affair  because  there  weren't  any. 
Their  time  together  was  joyous  and  relaxing,  full  of  pas- 
sion. They  were  able  to  step  out  of  their  own  everyday 

38 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

lives  and  enjoy  each  other  whenever  Teresa  came  to  Ha- 
waii. Sometimes,  Nick  came  to  the  Northwest  for  a  few 
days  and  they  took  trips  together  to  ski  lodges  and  resorts. 
They  never  discussed  marrying  one  another,  and  Nick  felt 
neither  of  them  expected  or  wanted  that  to  happen.  He 
was  unaware  of  plans  for  Teresa  and  Morgan  to  move  to 
Hawaii,  and  he  certainly  had  no  intention  of  divorcing  his 
wife. 

'i  got  married  once,"  he  said  later.  "I  waited  until  I  was 
forty-one  years  old  to  get  married,  and  that  was  it  for  me.  I 
was  only  going  to  be  married  once." 

Teresa  was  a  woman  who  bolstered  his  confidence, 
gave  him  her  constant  approval,  delighted  him  in  bed,  and 
demanded  nothing  of  him.  Nick  Callas  had  no  hint  that 
Teresa  had  built  a  maze  of  complicated  plans  for  them.  He 
never  saw  a  bad  side  of  her,  and  she  was  always  smiling 
and  bubbly  when  they  were  together.  Almost  any  man  who 
fantasizes  about  being  unfaithful  to  his  wife  would  proba- 
bly gravitate  toward  someone  like  Teresa. 

No  nagging.  No  strings.  No  problems. 

Callas  had  no  biological  children,  but  he  loved  his  ad- 
opted son  Jack — who  was  bom  in  October  1991,  as  if  he 
was  the  child  of  his  own  loins. 


Teresa  secretly  believed  that  if  she  gave  Nick  a  child  with 
his  own  genes,  his  own  Greek  heritage,  he  would  be  so 
happy  and  grateful  that  he  would  leave  his  wife  and  marry 
her.  Since  Teresa  had  insisted  on  a  hysterectomy  after 
Morgan's  birth,  that  was  going  to  be  tricky.  Now,  she  truly 
could  not  conceive,  but  she  had  already  planned  for  that. 

39 


ANN  RULE 

Teresa  had  visited  her  gynecologist  on  May  10,  1995. 
She  wanted  to  know  exactly  how  in  vitro  fertilization 
worked.  She  knew  she  still  produced  eggs,  and  she  told 
her  doctor  that  "an  old  friend"  who  lived  in  Hawaii  had 
agreed  to  furnish  sperm. 

"How  often  do  you  see  this  man?"  the  female  surgeon 
asked. 

"Every  two  weeks."  It  was,  of  course,  a  lie. 

"Have  you  discussed  in  vitro  with  him?" 

"Yes — and  he's  very  supportive  of  it."  This,  too,  was  a 
lie.  Nick  had  no  plans  to  have  a  baby  with  Teresa.  Teresa 
believed  that  Nick  and  his  wife  had  adopted  Jack  because 
of  some  fertility  problem  with  Grace.  But  it  wasn't  Grace 
who  couldn't  conceive;  it  was  Nick's  problem. 

Although  he  had  never  confided  in  Teresa  about  it,  he 
believed  that  he  was  incapable  of  fathering  a  child.  He  and 
Grace  had  tried  for  years  to  conceive,  traveling  to  southern 
California  to  confer  with  top  fertility  specialists.  They  had 
first  tried  seven  in  vitro  procedures,  mixing  Grace's  eggs 
with  Nick's  sperm  in  a  petri  dish,  hoping  their  doctor 
could  implant  viable  embryos  in  Grace's  uterus. 

But  no  pregnancies  resulted.  It  had  been  expensive,  but 
the  emotional  pain  was  the  worst  part  of  that.  Again  and 
again,  Grace  failed  to  become  pregnant. 

They  hadn't  given  up,  but  they  tried  another  way.  Al- 
though they  worked  with  medical  experts,  Nick  called  it 
the  "turkey  baster  method."  Over  five  years,  they  tried 
seven  times.  In  two  instances  his  sperm  was  injected  in 
two  different  extremely  fertile  surrogate  mothers,  who  had 
each  become  pregnant  in  their  own  marriages  on  the  first 
try.  Both  of  the  female  subjects  were  prepared  to  carry  a 

40 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

resultant  embryo  to  term.  They  were  disappointed  when 
neither  potential  surrogate  mother  became  pregnant. 

Nick  Callas,  as  masculine  as  he  looked,  had  a  very  low 
sperm  count.  They  didn't  know  why.  His  doctors  eventu- 
ally diagnosed  him  as  having  too  many  clusters  of  veins 
and  arteries  in  his  testicles  for  sperm  to  survive  long.  They 
offered  him  surgery  to  remove  them,  but  gave  him  no 
promises  of  success.  He  opted  not  to  have  the  operation. 

Whether  Teresa  was  aware  of  this  is  questionable.  Had 
Nick  told  her  he  could  not  father  a  child?  Nick  would  in- 
sist later  that  they  had  never  discussed  having  a  child  to- 
gether. There  was  no  reason  to  share  his  most  intimate 
physical  problems  with  her. 

But  Teresa  believed  what  she  believed,  and  she  was 
given  to  "magical  thinking"  where  everything  would  turn 
out  as  she  visualized  it.  She  rapidly  erased  any  truth  that 
interfered  with  her  plans. 

Teresa  lied  once  more  to  her  doctor,  saying  that  she  had 
a  close  female  friend  who  would  offer  her  a  "surrogate 
womb"  to  carry  her  own  fertilized  egg  to  term. 

In  Teresa's  mind,  the  baby  would  be  hers  and  Nick  Cal- 
las's  child,  just  as  much  as  if  conception  had  taken  place 
the  old-fashioned  way.  And  biologically  that  would  be 
true. 

Teresa  had  studied  up  on  all  kinds  of  infertility,  and 
state-of-the-art  insemination  procedures.  The  "friend" 
who  had  volunteered  to  carry  her  baby  was  probably 
another  exaggeration.  If  she  moved  to  Hawaii,  Teresa 
planned  to  find  a  surrogate  mother  and  pay  her  to  carry 
a  baby  after  in  vitro  fertilization  with  Nick's  sperm.  If 
Teresa's  eggs  were  no  longer  usable  for  some  reason,  she 

41 


ANN  RULE 

realized  she  might  have  to  forgo  her  genetic  participa- 
tion. Whatever  it  took,  she  would  see  that  Nick  had  a 
child  who  was  partly  his  own,  and  then  he  would  marry 
her  and  they  would  raise  that  child — and  Morgan,  and, 
hopefully,  Nick's  son — together. 

Her  plan  sounded  more  like  an  extremely  complicated 
science  project  than  a  baby  bom  out  of  love.  And,  short  of 
a  miracle,  it  was  doomed  from  the  beginning. 

Her  doctor  warned  Teresa  of  legal  pitfalls.  She  cited 
cases  she  had  read  about  where  the  surrogates  refused  to 
give  up  the  babies  after  they  were  born.  "That  can  be  a 
sticky  situation,"  she  said,  advising  her  that  she  should 
consult  with  an  attorney  before  she  began  such  a  process. 

"And  it  would  help  any  case  that  came  up  against  you  if 
you  were  married  to  the  baby's  biological  father,"  she 
added. 

Teresa's  gynecologist  knew  very  little  about  her  current 
marital  status.  She  gave  her  the  names  of  some  fertility 
specialists,  explaining  that  she  didn't  have  the  additional 
training  needed  to  harvest  and  implant  eggs. 

Teresa  was  jubilant  when  she  left  her  office,  heedless  of 
all  the  warnings  she'd  been  given.  She  knew  her  plans 
weren't  going  to  be  easy  to  carry  off,  but  she  was  sure  she 
could  do  it.  Of  course,  it  was  all  pie  in  the  sky. 

There  was  the  problem  of  Chuck.  Teresa  expected  him 
to  dig  in  his  heels  and  refuse  to  let  her  take  Morgan  to  Ha- 
waii to  live.  There  was  no  question  about  it,  and  she  at 
least  accepted  that. 

Although  Chuck  had  felt  a  weight  lift  from  his  shoul- 
ders when  Teresa  moved  out,  he  missed  living  ftiU-time 
with  Morgan.  Having  her  with  him  every  other  week  just 

42 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

wasn't  the  same  as  being  her  dad  every  day.  When  Teresa 
occasionally  mentioned  that  she  intended  to  live  in  Ha- 
waii, Chuck  worried. 

He  would  die  before  he  would  let  Teresa  take  his  little 
girl  so  far  away.  He  may  even  have  used  that  phrase  when 
she  brought  up  the  subject. 

Outwardly,  Chuck  Leonard  wasn't  a  serious  man.  He 
had  an  active  social  life,  and  he  was  still  dating  Michelle. 
Michelle  was  probably  the  perfect  woman  for  him.  She 
wasn't  the  jealous  type,  and  she  believed  that  he  was  faith- 
fill  to  her,  but  she  hadn't  asked  for  that.  She  lived  with 
Chuck  during  the  weeks  that  Morgan  wasn't  staying  there, 
and  she  worried  about  his  getting  home  safe  at  night.  They 
had  a  great  time  together,  and  she  was  easygoing  and  de- 
voted to  him. 

Chuck  didn't  miss  Teresa,  but  he  was  deadly  serious 
about  Morgan.  He  loved  her  with  all  the  devotion  in  his 
body.  He  was  fifty-two  and  not  likely  to  have  more  chil- 
dren. Morgan  meant  the  whole  world  to  him,  and  he 
looked  forward  to  the  weeks  when  his  daughter  lived  with 
him. 

On  the  other  hand,  Teresa  often  left  Morgan  with  near- 
strangers  as  babysitters.  She  made  fi-iends  with  a  man 
named  Bill  Pursley*  who  lived  in  the  same  apartment 
building  she  did  and  often  asked  him  to  look  after  Mor- 
gan. Chuck's  friends,  Sandy  and  Jan — who  had  once 
warned  Chuck  that  he'd  made  a  terrible  mistake  marrying 
Teresa — regularly  looked  after  Morgan  when  Teresa  was 
away  or  busy. 

And  she  often  was.  Teresa  loved  Morgan,  but  she 
needed  time  for  herself,  too. 

43 


ANN  RULE 

How  was  Teresa  going  to  coordinate  a  medically  pre- 
carious pregnancy  with  her  lover,  a  nonacrimonious  di- 
vorce from  her  husband,  and  her  lover's  divorce  from  his 
wife,  and  be  sure  all  the  pieces  dovetailed?  It  was  essential 
that  nobody  became  angry  enough  to  block  her  plans.  She 
walked  on  eggshells,  testing  all  the  men  in  her  life  and 
balancing  them  like  a  juggler  with  more  and  more  plates 
in  the  air. 

Teresa  believed,  albeit  erroneously,  that  Chuck's  girl- 
friend was  a  recent  high  school  graduate  and  that  he  was 
acting  unethically.  That  would  give  Teresa  another  weapon 
to  use  against  him.  Actually,  Michelle  was  a  few  years 
older  than  Teresa. 

Teresa  still  had  her  consignment  store.  Chuck  never 
shorted  her  on  child  support  and  he  paid  for  so  many  other 
things  that  Morgan  needed.  Nick  Callas  was  always  will- 
ing to  buy  her  tickets  to  Hawaii  for  a  liaison  with  him.  She 
was  convinced  he  loved  her  or,  at  the  very  least,  found  her 
too  sensuous  and  desirable  to  walk  away  from. 

If  Teresa  wrote  down  her  goals,  they  would  have  read 
like  this: 

1 .  Gain  full  legal  custody  of  Morgan. 

2.  Finalize  divorce  from  Chuck. 

3.  Move  to  Hawaii. 

4.  Have  a  child  with  Nick,  one  way  or  the  other. 

5.  Convince  him  to  leave  his  wife. 

6.  Marry  Nick  and  live  happily  ever  after. 

Goals  four  and  five  could  happen  in  any  order  as  far  as 
Teresa  was  concerned.  Nick  Callas  was  probably  the  big- 

44 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

gest  challenge  she'd  ever  faced.  He  was  quite  content  with 
his  life,  even  though  he  was  also  devoted  to  Teresa.  Sexu- 
ally, she  probably  was  the  most  enchanting  woman  he 
knew.  But  Nick  was  fifty,  and  he  had  come  to  realize  that 
sex  wasn't  the  most  important  thing  in  the  world.  He  got 
along  well  enough  with  his  wife.  And  if  he  weighed  a  love 
affair  against  how  much  it  would  cost  him  to  get  a  divorce, 
his  bank  account  would  come  first.  He  had  spent  years 
building  up  a  fortune  and  a  marriage,  and  if  he  divorced 
his  wife,  at  least  half  of  that  would  be  gone.  More  than 
that,  he  would  probably  lose  custody  of  Jack.  Ironically, 
like  Chuck,  Nick  didn't  want  to  do  anything  that  would 
take  his  son  out  of  his  life.  He  and  Grace  had  raised  the 
little  boy  from  birth,  carrying  him  straight  from  the  hospi- 
tal to  their  home,  and  he  was  a  wonderful  little  boy. 

Nick  fully  expected  to  maintain  both  his  marriage  and 
his  affair  with  Teresa.  And  as  much  as  Nick  loved  Teresa, 
he  knew  she  wasn't  the  average  woman.  Not  at  all.  "Tere- 
sa's probably  ninety  percent  an  angel,  and  ten  percent 
crazy,"  he  once  said. 

He  may  have  overestimated  the  angel  percentage. 


Thwarted,  Teresa  had  to  regroup,  although  she  still  be- 
lieved that  when  she  actually  presented  Nick  with  his  own 
baby,  he  would  change  his  mind. 

And  so  she  stalled,  living  in  her  apartment  with  Morgan, 
operating  her  little  shop,  and  waiting  to  follow  through  on 
her  divorce  from  Chuck.  All  things  being  equal,  and  if 
Chuck  didn't  fight  too  hard  for  custody  of  Morgan,  a  di- 
vorce in  Washington  State  took  only  three  months. 

45 


ANN  RULE 

But  Teresa  dragged  her  feet  on  her  divorce  too  long.  In 
January  1996,  the  Snohomish  County  Superior  Court  in- 
formed both  Teresa  and  Chuck  that  the  court  was  dismiss- 
ing their  divorce  case  because  there  had  been  no  action  on 
it  for  a  year. 

The  Leonards'  relationship  was  in  limbo.  Neither  of 
them  wanted  to  reunite,  but  Chuck  didn't  seem  to  be 
upset  that  they  had  to  refile  if  they  wanted  to  be  legally 
and  finally  separated  forever.  He  would  wait  Teresa  out  if 
he  had  to. 

They  were  deeply  in  debt,  although  Teresa  always 
maintained  that  Chuck  was  well  off  and  should  have  paid 
her  more  in  child  support.  As  it  was,  he  was  paying  her  all 
he  could  afford. 

It  was  a  paradox,  but,  with  the  insurance  he  carried  and 
his  other  assets.  Chuck  Leonard  was  worth  more  dead 
than  alive.  In  the  financial  statements  he  presented  in  their 
initial  divorce  action,  they  were  more  than  $46,000  in 
debt.  Teresa  cleared  only  $300  a  month  from  her  shop. 
That  baffled  Chuck;  she  had  told  him  she  had  a  business 
degree,  and  he  thought  she  should  have  made  more  than 
that.  He  offered  her  $334  a  month  for  Morgan,  while  she 
said  he  could  easily  pay  her  $825.  In  essence,  with  all  the 
extras  he  paid  for  his  daughter,  he  was  paying  her  more 
than  $800. 

Teresa  didn't  reveal  that  Nick  Callas  was  sending  her 
more  than  $1,000  a  month.  He  told  people  that  she  worked 
as  a  travel  agent,  and  she  sometimes  sent  people  to  him  to 
rent  condos;  at  least  he  would  later  say  that  that  was  why 
he  wrote  checks  on  the  accounts  of  his  various  condo 
rental  properties  to  her.  His  wife  knew  nothing  about  this. 

46 


I 

1 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

In  a  will  drawn  up  in  1991,  a  will  still  in  force,  Chuck 
had  stipulated  that  Teresa  would  get  everything  he  had, 
both  separate  property  (which  he  owned  before  they  mar- 
ried) and  community  property  (that  had  accumulated  dur- 
ing their  marriage).  And  that  added  up  to  a  considerable 
amount.  By  1996,  Chuck's  estate  was  substantial.  He  had 
$95,000  in  insurance,  $95,000  in  retirement  benefits  from 
the  Everett  School  District,  the  $240,000  house  on  Lake 
Goodwin,  his  final  payroll  from  North  Middle  School  of 
over  $  1 1 ,000,  and  various  properties  he  had  inherited  near 
Bremerton  and  Camano  Island  worth  over  $120,000.  On 
top  of  that,  Teresa  and  Morgan  would  receive  Social  Secu- 
rity payments.  Even  when  his  final  debts  were  paid,  Teresa 
stood  to  receive  well  over  $300,000  as  his  sole  heir,  plus 
Social  Security  payments  every  month  until  Morgan  was 
eighteen. 

A  year  passed.  Chuck  was  happy  with  Michelle  Conley. 
She  had  her  own  place,  but  she  was  at  Chuck's  lake  house 
more  than  she  was  home,  an  arrangement  that  she  and 
Chuck  attempted  to  keep  secret.  His  best  fi-iends  knew 
about  Michelle,  but  most  other  people  didn't. 

And  Teresa  was  happy  in  her  relationship  with  Nick 
Callas,  although  she  was  planning  feverishly  to  accelerate 
that  into  much  more. 

In  January  1997,  Chuck  filed  papers  to  keep  his  divorce 
in  progress,  knowing  that  that  would  probably  confuse  her. 
She  wouldn't  be  able  to  take  Morgan  far  away  until  it  was 
all  settled.  He  was  ready  to  finalize  the  divorce,  but  he  had 
no  intention  of  letting  her  take  Morgan  to  Hawaii. 

Oddly,  or  perhaps  not,  Teresa  was  furious  when  she  re- 
alized that  she  no  longer  had  the  chilling  control  over 

47 


ANN  RULE 

Chuck  that  she'd  maintained  since  the  night  she  met  him. 
No  other  woman  in  his  life  had  ever  been  able  to  bend  him 
to  her  will. 

''The  cat  was  going  to  lose  her  mouse,"  Aunt  Theresa 
said  flatly.  "She  was  very  jealous  of  Chuck's  connection  to 
Morgan." 

It  had  taken  Chuck  a  long  time  to  move  forward  on  his 
divorce.  He'd  asked  for  advice  from  friends  before  he 
made  his  final  decision.  Should  he  let  Teresa  back  in — ^but 
only  if  she  agreed  to  counseling — for  Morgan's  sake? 

None  of  them  thought  it  was  a  good  idea. 

Teresa  finally  realized  that  Chuck  was  prepared  to  fight 
her  fiercely  if  she  attempted  to  take  Morgan  to  Hawaii  to 
live,  even  if  she  agreed  to  let  Morgan  spend  the  summers 
and  vacations  with  him. 

They  were  at  an  impasse. 

Teresa  and  Morgan  were  close,  and  Morgan  thought  her 
mother  was  perfect.  Moreover,  she  believed  everything 
Teresa  told  her.  Most  five-year-olds  accept  their  mother's 
word  without  doubt.  Teresa  told  Morgan  that  her  daddy 
didn't  really  own  the  house  on  Lake  Goodwin.  It  really 
belonged  to  her  grandmother — Teresa's  mother,  who  had 
passed  away,  leaving  it  to  Teresa.  She  said  Gloria  Jones 
had  been  an  antiques  dealer. 

Teresa  planted  ideas  about  Chuck  in  Morgan's  mind, 
telling  her  if  she  was  ever  afraid  when  she  was  with  her 
daddy,  she  could  call  her  mommy  or  "Aunt  Joyce." 

Teresa  told  Joyce  Lilly  she  was  worried  that  Chuck  was 
sexually  abusing  their  daughter,  and  Joyce  was  convinced 
it  was  true.  The  two  women  gave  Morgan  teddy  bears  with 
secret  pockets  where  they  had  hidden  their  phone  numbers. 

48 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Most  of  the  time  when  Chuck  called  Teresa  at  her  shop  to 
facilitate  Morgan's  transfer,  Teresa  would  burst  into  tears  at 
the  end  of  the  conversation,  making  her  salesgirls  think  that 
Chuck  Leonard  must  be  a  bullying  monster. 

Joyce  was  almost  as  gullible  as  Morgan,  worrying  about 
Teresa  and  her  small  daughter.  The  two  young  women  who 
worked  at  The  Consignment  Shop  were  sympathetic,  too. 
They  noted  that  Morgan,  who  had  once  been  jumping  with 
excitement  while  she  waited  for  her  father,  seemed  to  hold 
back.  She  cried  and  begged  to  stay  with  her  mother,  saying 
she  didn't  want  to  play  with  all  the  toys  her  daddy  had  for 
her. 

No  one  knew  exactly  what  Teresa  was  telling  her. 

Probably  no  one  ever  will. 


Chuck  wondered  what  Teresa  was  up  to.  Looking  at  her, 
she  didn't  appear  to  be  dangerous.  Still,  Chuck — who  had 
come  to  recognize  her  lies — sometimes  wondered  what 
she  was  capable  of. 

In  November  1996,  Chuck  had  wakened  when  Michelle 
nudged  him.  She  whispered  that  she  had  heard  a  squeak 
on  the  stairs  leading  down  to  his  bedroom.  "I  think  some- 
one's in  the  house." 

He  jumped  out  of  bed  and  they  heard  the  sound  of 
someone  running  upstairs.  Chuck  leapt  up  the  stairway  to 
the  living  room.  Soon,  he  came  back,  saying  he  hadn't 
caught  up  with  whoever  it  was. 

Michelle  dressed  hurriedly  and  drove  after  a  car  she 
spotted  driving  toward  the  main  road  that  led  to  the  free- 
way. Its  headlights  were  out.  It  appeared  to  have  come 

49 


ANN  RULE 

from  a  darkened  area  full  of  trees  that  abutted  the  state 
park  at  the  end  of  Chuck's  street.  As  the  car  passed  under  a 
streetlight,  she  saw  the  license  plate.  But  the  vehicle  was 
soon  in  the  shadows  again,  and  she  couldn't  see  the  driver 
clearly.  She  was  positive  about  the  license  plate,  however. 
Then  the  car  pulled  away  and  picked  up  speed  before  she 
could  catch  up  with  it.  She  gave  up  and  called  Chuck,  giv- 
ing him  the  license  plate  number. 

It  was  the  license  number  of  Teresa's  Nissan. 

Chuck  thought  it  might  have  happened  again  in  January 
1997.  This  time,  his  eyes  snapped  open  with  the  sense  that 
they  were  not  alone.  Half-asleep,  he  looked  past  Michelle 
who  lay  beside  him  in  bed  and  thought  he  saw  a  dark  fig- 
ure in  his  ground-floor  bedroom.  He  blinked  and  the  figure 
was  gone. 

There  was  no  particular  sound  of  an  intruder;  it  was 
more  a  feeling.  But  Michelle  slept  quietly,  and  the  fear 
he'd  felt  slowly  went  away.  He  figured  he  must  have  had  a 
bad  dream — the  ftigue  state  of  the  nightmare  that  was  al- 
ready giving  way  to  reality.  They  had  both  been  jumpy,  but 
not  enough  for  Chuck  to  lock  his  doors  before  heading  for 
bed.  He  never  locked  the  cat  doors  because  his  five  cats 
needed  to  get  in  the  house  if  it  rained,  or  if  predators  like 
raccoons,  coyotes,  or  an  occasional  cougar  stalked  them. 
He  wanted  Bear,  Chaucer,  Zena-the-Warrior-Princess, 
Tab,  and  Jezabel  to  be  safe  and  to  come  and  go  as  they 
pleased  during  the  nighi:.  A  very  small  person  could  wrig- 
gle through  the  swinging  cat  entrances. 

"Chuck  loved  his  cats,"  his  sister  recalled. 

Usually,  Chuck  liked  the  clear  window  in  the  floor  over 
his  waterbed,  and  the  comments  it  elicited  from  visitors.  It 

50 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

had  once  been  a  circular  stairway,  but  he  changed  that 
when  he  remodeled  the  house,  making  it  more  like  a  ship's 
ladder  than  stairs,  with  a  removable  see-through  hatch 
cover. 

On  this  chilly  night,  he  shivered  at  the  thought  that 
someone  could  have  been  up  ^ere  in  the  dark,  watching 
Michelle  and  him  sleep.  Maybe  someone  had  been — 
maybe  it  was  only  a  nightmare  that  had  evolved  from  the 
incident  in  November.  If  someone  had  really  been  there, 
the  trespasser  had  left  the  house  on  Lake  Goodwin  with- 
out causing  any  harm  or  stealing  any  of  Chuck  Leonard's 
possessions.  Michelle  believed  it  was  Teresa. 

Chuck  told  one  of  his  good  teacher  friends  about  his 
"nightmare,"  and  they  tried  to  rationalize  it  in  the  light  of 
day.  Finally,  they  assumed  it  had  been  an  imaginary 
thing — a  night  terror.  Chuck  had  been  under  a  lot  of  stress 
recently,  and  that  could  account  for  his  feeling  that  some- 
one was  hiding  in  his  house,  watching  him. 

If  only  it  had  been. 


51 


Chapter  Three 


Deputy  Wyiin  Holdal  of  the  Snohomish  County 
Sheriff's  Office  was  at  the  Lake  Goodwin  Fire  Station  at  a 
quarter  to  one  .in  the  afternoon  of  February  20,  1997,  when 
he  heard  the  emergency  medical  technicians  get  a  call  of 
"Man  down"  at  an  address  on  Forty-second  Drive.  He  pre- 
pared to  follow  the  fire  fighters  to  the  address  when  more 
bells  sounded  and  the  station  radio  blared. 

"Man  down  is  DOA — dead  on  arrival." 

This  time,  Holdal  was  dispatched  to  the  scene  by  the 
sheriff's  radio.  He  arrived  by  1 :00  p.m.  and  met  with  Fire 
Chief  Darryl  Neuhoff  and  Assistant  Chief  Robert  Spencer. 
They  had  already  strung  yellow  tape  around  the  carport 
area  of  the  three-story  house;  the  rest  of  the  yard  was 
fenced  off. 

It  was  very  cold  out,  the  morning's  frost  barely  burned 
off  by  a  vapid  sun. 

Holdal  could  see  the  dead  man,  lying  half-naked  par- 
tially on  his  back  and  slightly  on  his  right  side  on  the  top 
step  inside  the  front  gate.  Oddly,  his  right  arm  lay  so  close 
to  a  chain  saw  that  it  seemed  to  cradle  it. 

A  man  about  forty  stood  nearby.  He  was  fighting  with 

53 


ANN  RULE 

his  emotions,  but  did  his  best  to  tell  Holdal  what  he  knew. 
He  gave  his  name  as  Douglas  Butler  and  identified  the 
corpse  as  his  friend.  Chuck  Leonard. 

"We  both  work  at  North  Middle  School,"  he  said. 
"Chuck  is — was — a  counselor  there  and  I  teach  shop  and 
wrestling." 

Butler  said  that  Chuck  hadn't  come  to  work  at  the 
school  earlier  in  the  day  or  called  in  to  arrange  for  a  sub- 
stitute. That  wasn't  at  all  like  him,  and  both  he  and  the 
principal  were  concerned.  Chuck's  estranged  wife,  Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard,  had  called  the  school  looking  for  him. 
That  was  a  fairly  rare  event,  too. 

"Our  principal  asked  me  to  check  on  him,"  his  fellow 
teacher  said. 

Doug  Butler  said  he'd  gone  to  Chuck's  lakeside  house, 
walked  down  the  sidewalk  to  the  gate,  and  found  it  closed. 
"But  I  could  see  through  it,  and  I  saw  Chuck  on  the  steps. 
I  opened  the  gate,  and  I  knew  he  was  dead,  but  I  checked 
for  a  pulse  an3rway.  There  wasn't  any." 

Butler  said  that  he  and  Chuck  had  been  good  friends 
for  eighteen  years,  and  he'd  spent  a  lot  of  time  at  Chuck's 
house  over  the  years. 

No  wonder  his  face  was  pale  and  his  voice  strained.  It 
would  have  been  a  horrible  shock  to  find  his  friend  lying 
on  the  cold  cement  in  icy  weather.  Dead. 

Deputy  Wynn  Holdal  asked  Doug  Butler  the  last  time 
he  had  seen  Chuck  Leonard. 

"Yesterday — about  four  p.m." 

"He  live  with  anyone?" 

"No,  not  usually.  He  lives  alone — except  when  his  little 
girl  is  here — she's  just  turned  five.  He  has  a  girlfriend 

54 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

named  Michelle  who  works  for  the  Everett  School  Dis- 
trict. She  sometimes  stays  over.  And  he's  got  an  ex — or 
estranged — wife  named  Teresa.  She  never  stays  over." 

Butler  explained  that  this  would  have  been  Chuck's 
week  to  have  Morgan,  but  the  child  had  to  have  some  den- 
tal work  done.  Neither  Teresa  nor  Chuck  had  been  able  to 
say  no  to  her  about  eating  candy  or  going  to  bed  with  sug- 
ary juice  in  her  bottle  when  she  was  much  younger,  and 
she'd  had  dental  problems  as  a  result.  On  this  day  in  Feb- 
ruary, Teresa  had  argued  that  she  would  do  better  staying 
with  her  mother  after  seeing  the  dentist,  and  Chuck  had 
given  in. 

"I  hope  she's  not  in  there,"  Butler  said  nervously.  He 
was  afraid  plans  might  have  changed,  and  he  worried  that 
Morgan  could  possibly  be  inside  the  house,  terrified,  hid- 
ing someplace.  Neither  he  nor  Wynn  Holdal  wanted  to 
think  that  she  had  suffered  the  same  fate  as  her  father. 

Sergeant  Matt  Bottin  had  been  dispatched  to  the  scene 
and  arrived  at  a  quarter  after  one.  He  walked  up  to  Deputy 
Holdal,  who  was  standing  in  front  of  the  carport  talking 
with  the  aid  crew  and  another  man — ^who  he  learned  was 
Doug  Butler. 

Bottin  saw  the  body  of  Chuck  Leonard  lying  on  the  top 
steps.  He  wore  only  a  gray,  bloodstained  T-shirt. 

He  asked  Butler  about  that,  and  Leonard's  long-time 
friend  said  that  Chuck  was  in  the  habit  of  sleeping  either 
completely  naked  or  wearing  just  a  T-shirt. 

"He  just  doesn't  like  underwear,  and  he  sometimes  an- 
swers the  door  nude  when  I've  gone  over  to  visit  him  in 
the  morning.  That's  just  him." 

Sergeant  Bottin  crossed  the  yellow  tape  and  walked 

55 


ANN  RULE  ^ 

close  to  Chuck  Leonard's  body.  The  gate  was  ajar  about 
two  inches.  He  could  see  trauma  in  Leonard's  chest  area, 
just  above  his  heart. 

"Was  the  gate  like  this  when  you  got  here?"  Bottin 
asked  Doug  Butler,  who  shook  his  head. 

"I  pushed  it  just  that  far  open  so  I  could  see  if  I  could 
help  Chuck,"  he  said.  "But  it  was  obvious  that  he  was 
dead,  so  I  backed  off  without  disturbing  anything,  went  to 
my  car  and  phoned  911  on  my  cell  phone." 

Bottin  commented  that  it  was  odd  that  the  dead  coun- 
selor had  his  arm  around  the  chain  saw.  Butler  said  that 
was  his  saw — that  he  had  loaned  it  to  Chuck  a  few  days 
before.  "It  probably  was  sitting  there  when  he  collapsed. 

"I'm  still  concerned  about  Morgan,"  he  said.  "I  know 
she's  not  in  there,  but  what  if  she  is  .  . ." 

To  calm  his  fears,  Bottin  and  Holdal  slipped  on  rubber 
gloves  and  walked  past  the  dead  man.  They  entered  the 
home  through  the  front  door,  which  stood  open  about  six 
inches.  The  front  door  was  on  the  east  side  of  the  lake 
house. 

"Deputy  Holdal  and  I  would  do  only  a  cursory  search, 
and  then  turn  the  crime  scene  over  to  the  homicide  detec- 
tives, who  had  been  notified. 

"There  was  a  trail  of  blood  from  the  deceased  to  the 
threshold  of  the  door,  and  blood  drops  and  smudges  on  the 
door  itself.  The  blood  trail  continued  into  the  house,"  Bot- 
tin recalled.  "Down  the  hallway,  across  the  living  room  to 
the  stairs,  which  led  down  to  Chuck's  bedroom." 

Doug  Butler  had  told  them  that  Morgan  Leonard's 
room  was  upstairs,  the  first  door  on  the  left.  "It  was 


56 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

closed,"  Bottin  said  "and  I  opened  it  from  the  back  side  of 
the  door  knob." 

Morgan's  room  was  a  lovely  little-girl's  room,  full  of 
dolls  and  toys,  and  it  was  completely  undisturbed.  Thank 
God,  she  wasn't  anywhere  in  the  house. 

Wynn  Holdal  searched  the  remainder  of  the  upstairs, 
while  Bottin  walked  through  the  kitchen.  He  noted  some 
open  wine  bottles  and  two  or  three  empty  wine  glasses, 
which  were  sitting  on  the  kitchen  counter. 

The  kitchen  didn't  have  a  bloody  trail.  The  two  Sno- 
homish County  officers  resumed  following  the  dried  blood 
that  led  down  the  stairs  to  a  bedroom,  passing  by  a  throw 
rug  that  was  rumpled  as  if  someone  had  slipped  on  it. 

Bottin  spotted  three  bullet  casings  at  the  bottom  of  the 
stairs;  they  appeared  to  be  for  a  .45  automatic.  There  were 
dried  blood  smudges  on  the  wall  beside  the  steps. 

But  they  realized  they'd  found  the  site  of  the  shooting 
in  the  bedroom  itself.  A  large  water  bed  sat  in  the  middle 
of  the  room,  and  the  comforter  on  it  was  blood-soaked.  A 
bullet  hole  was  evident  in  the  fabric.  The  pillows  at  the 
head  of  the  bed  were  also  stained  red.  Clearly,  the  victim 
had  been  attacked  in  his  bed,  possibly  while  he  was  sleep- 
ing. The  water  bed  had  been  pierced;  the  floor  beside  it 
was  covered  with  puddles  of  water. 

At  the  end  of  the  bed,  there  was  a  sofa  table  with  books 
and  magazines  on  it,  and  there  were  blood  splatters  on  top 
of  these,  too.  A  child's  Pocahontas  wigwam,  a  large  white 
teddy  bear,  and  children's  books  were  also  in  the  master 
bedroom. 

They  glanced  behind  a  bifold  door  and  found  a  closet 


57 


ANN  RULE 

inside.  Another  door  led  to  a  small  office  room.  Neither 
closet  area  showed  any  signs  of  being  disturbed. 

They  touched  nothing  directly  as  they  looked  through 
the  house,  and  they  were  vastly  relieved  that  they  hadn't 
found  a  five-year-old  girl  inside. 

"We  turned  around  and  left,"  Holdal  said.  "We  still 
hadn't  touched  anything." 

For  all  intents  and  purposes,  Chuck  Leonard  had  prob- 
ably been  near  death  from  the  moment  he  was  shot,  but  he 
had  managed  to  leap  from  his  bed,  run  up  the  steep  cap- 
tain's ladder  stairs  after  his  killer,  and  keep  going  until  he 
had  bled  out  in  the  cold  loneliness  of  his  front  yard.  Even 
if  paramedics  had  been  in  his  house  when  he  was  shot,  he 
probably  would  not  have  survived. 

There  were  nine  houses  along  the  single-lane  dirt  road, 
but  only  seven  were  occupied  in  winter.  The  beach  area 
was  buzzing  and  alive  in  the  summertime.  And  Wenberg 
State  Park  was  just  beyond  a  wooded  area  at  the  end  of  the 
street.  Picnickers  and  campers  filled  the  park  then. 

The  house  just  to  the  north  of  Chuck's  three-story  home 
was  occupied  year-round  by  a  doctor,  who  was  a  good 
friend  of  the  victim's.  In  fact,  Dr.  Les  Staunton*  let  Chuck 
park  his  Porsche  in  his  carport.  Their  homes  were  about 
twelve  feet  apart  wall-to-wall,  but  their  decks  were  only 
four  feet  apart. 

Bottin  opened  the  door  to  the  west  wall  of  the  carport 
and  saw  the  walkway  leading  down  to  the  doctor's  home. 
He  started  down,  but  Butler  stopped  him. 

"I've  already  banged  on  the  door,  but  no  one  an- 
swered." 

There  was  a  good  reason  for  that.  Staunton  had  re- 

58 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

turned  from  a  trip  to  Venezuela  a  day  or  so  earlier,  and 
he'd  taken  a  sleeping  pill  the  night  before  to  try  to  get  rid 
of  his  jet  lag.  He'd  wakened  early  and  left  for  his  practice. 

When  he  was  located  at  his  clinic,  he  told  the  investi- 
gators that  he'd  gone  to  bed  a  little  after  midnight  and 
fallen  sound  asleep,  only  to  be  wakened  by  something — 
something  he  couldn't  identify.  It  might  have  been  the 
motion-detector  light  on  his  porch  or  a  strange  noise. 

"It  sounded  like  somebody  with  asthma,"  he  said 
slowly,  "a  noise  that  sounded  very  foreign  to  me,  but  it 
wasn't  an  actual  voice,  [and]  it  wasn't  a  scream.  It  was  just 
a  wheezing  noise,  but  it  was  loud  enough  for  me  to  hear  it 
from  my  bedroom — which  is  the  opposite  side  from  where 
ChuSc's  house  is." 

Staunton  said  he'd  gotten  up  and  sat  on  the  edge  of  his 
bed  for  "thirty  seconds,"  noticing  that  the  motion-detector 
light  on  his  porch  was  on.  He  listened,  but  he  heard  noth- 
ing more — ^no  more  screams  or  wheezes  or  whatever  it 
had  been.  No  sound  of  a  car  engine  starting.  It  could  have 
been  anything — from  an  owl  in  the  night  to  a  cougar  or 
even  a  raccoon  fight. 

It  was  difficult  for  Staunton  to  set  the  time  he'd  been 
wakened,  but  he  was  sure  it  would  have  been  about  three 
to  five  hours  after  he'd  taken  the  sleeping  pill.  He  assumed 
it  was  about  5:00  a.m. 

He'd  woken  up  again  at  7:00  a.m.  to  the  sound  of  cats 
fighting.  He  figured  that  was  probably  what  he'd  heard 
earlier. 

Shocked  to  hear  that  Chuck  was  dead,  Dr.  Staunton  said 
he'd  seen  him  only  the  night  before  at  a  restaurant  called 
Buck's  in  downtown  Everett.  Chuck  was  there  with  some 


ANN  RULE 

friends,  a  couple  of  men  and  a  woman  he  didn't  recognize. 
His  neighbor  had  come  over  to  invite  him  to  join  them, 
and  he  did — but  when  Chuck  asked  Dr.  Staunton  if  he 
wanted  to  go  to  a  nearby  gambling  casino,  he'd  declined, 
saying  he  was  headed  home  to  bed. 

No  one  else  along  the  street  who  might  have  helped 
Chuck  Leonard  had  heard  anything  during  the  night  or  in 
the  chill  hours  of  the  morning.  Maybe  it  wouldn't  have 
niade  any  difference,  but  it  was  sad,  nevertheless. 

Rigor  mortis,  the  stiffening  of  a  body's  joints  that  be- 
gins shortly  after  death,  was  well  established.  His  body 
temperature  was  very,  very  low  when  it  was  taken  at  the 
medical  examiner's  office. 

It  was  ironic  that  a  man  who  had  spent  his  whole  life 
surrounded  by  friends  should  die  all  alone.  Had  someone 
been  familiar  with  his  habits — where  he  slept,  who  his 
neighbors  were,  who  was  away  in  the  winter  or  had  their 
windows  tightly  closed? 

It  would  take  detectives  from  the  Major  Crimes  Unit  to 
figure  that  out.  Detectives  Brad  Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  ar- 
rived, and  Bottin  walked  them  through  the  residence,  re- 
tracing his  original  path  exactly. 

They  worked  the  crime  scene  meticulously,  gathering, 
bagging,  and  labeling  the  .45  slugs  and  casings,  taking 
samples  for  typing  from  the  blood  that  marked  the  lake 
house  with  splashes  and  pools.  The  water  bed  where 
Chuck  Leonard  had  been  shot  was  punctured  by  either  a 
bullet  or  a  fi-agment,  and  it  leaked  water  that  mixed  with 
his  life's  fluid. 

The  stairway  down  to  the  master  bedroom  ran  along  the 
left  side  of  the  living  room.  The  fatally  injured  victim 

60 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

must  have  run  across  the  living  room  and  slipped  on  a  few 
area  rugs,  which  were  now  askew.  When  Pince  looked 
down  at  one,  he  saw  a  wedge  of  transparent  material  be- 
neath it.  As  he  tugged  it  aside,  he  realized  it  was  some 
kind  of  window  in  the  floor — a  window  looking  down  to- 
ward Chuck's  room.  It  wasn't  directly  over  his  water  bed, 
but  it  was  close  enough. 

The  dead  man  had  designed  his  house  carefully  so  that 
skylights  in  the  ceiling  of  the  lake  house  were  positioned 
to  capture  light,  which,  in  turn,  focused  on  the  window  in 
the  floor,  sending  more  light  to  the  bedroom  below.  The 
Plejf:iglas  cover  was  open  now,  but  could  obviously  be 
closed  to  keep  someone  from  falling  through. 

If  someone  had  stealthily  come  into  the  house  in  the 
dark,  and  the  moonlight  was  just  right,  he — or  they — 
might  have  been  able  to  watch  Chuck  and  any  female 
friend  who  might  be  staying  over. 

It  gave  the  detectives  pause,  a  shivery  feeling  of  privacy 
invaded. 

They  received  a  phone  call  from  Detective  John  Padilla 
in  the  Records  division.  He  had  left  several  messages  on 
Teresa's  cell  phone  during  the  day,  and  she  finally  called 
him  back.  She  asked  about  Chuck's  death.  Padilla  wasn't 
positive  how  she  had  learned  of  it,  but  Doug  Butler  and 
other  teachers  and  administrators  at  North  Middle  School 
had  known  for  hours  that  Chuck  was  dead— murdered. 
Word  of  his  shocking  demise  had  spread  rapidly  through 
the  area. 

Padilla  said  Teresa  had  left  the  phone  number  and  ad- 
dress of  her  best  friend — Joyce  Lilly — and  said  she  would 
wait  there  for  the  detectives  to  contact  her. 

61 


ANN  RULE 

Pince  and  Scharf  were  very  anxious  to  talk  with  Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard,  but  it  was  ten  thirty  that  evening  before 
they  had  cleared  the  lake  house.  Detectives  Joe  Ward,  Rob 
Palmer,  and  Gregg  Rinta  had  done  yeoman's  work  photo- 
graphing and  sketching  the  layout  of  the  house  and  the  lo- 
cation of  all  physical  evidence  before  it  was  bagged  and 
labeled  and  put  safely  into  the  chain  of  evidence. 

Dr.  Dan  Selove,  associate  medical  examiner  for  Sno- 
homish County  had  come  to  the  scene,  too.  After  Chuck 
Leonard's  body  was  photographed  and  then  removed  for 
autopsy,  deputies  remained  behind  to  guard  the  property 
to  be  sure  that  no  one  crossed  the  crime  scene  tapes. 

The  Snohomish  County  investigators  knew  what  had 
happened,  but  they  didn't  know  who  might  have  shot  the 
popular  school  counselor  or  what  their  motivation  might 
have  been. 

Sergeant  Al  Zurlo  of  the  Snohomish  County  Major 
Crimes  Unit  had  been  assigned  to  be  the  incident  com- 
mander in  the  investigation  of  Chuck  Leonard's  death.  At 
4:00  p.m.  on  Februaiy  20,  he  arrived  on  the  scene  and 
signed  the  crime  scene  log.  He  was  gratified  to  see  that 
procedure  had  been  followed  perfectly.  The  whole  area 
was  either  blocked  by  barricades  or  encircled  with  yellow 
crime-scene  tape. 

Zurlo  gave  out  assignments;  the  investigation  would 
operate  on  many  fronts  at  the  same  time. 

Detective  Brad  Pince:  lead  team,  coordinate  tasks 
Detective  John  Padilla:  lead  team,  interviews  and 
background  information 


62 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Detective  Jim  Scharf:  witness  interviews  and  scene 
processing 

Detective  Matt  Trafford:  neighborhood  canvass, 
witness  interviews 

Detective  Haley:  crime-scene  sketching,  processing 

Detective  Stich:  crime-scene  sketching,  processing 

Detective  Gregg  Rinta:  body  site,  interior  crime- 
scene  processing 

Detective  Rob  Palmer:  body  site,  interior  crime- 
scene  processing 

Detective  Joe  Ward:  search  warrant  preparation, 
supervise  interior  crime-scene  processing 

Deputy  Stoops:  exterior  crime-scene  security,  crime- 
scene  log 


North  Middle  School  was  afire  with  rumors,  and  Chuck's 
friends  were  appalled.  When  Detective  Brad  Pince  phoned 
his  father  to  tell  him  that  his  son  was  dead — murdered — 
Fred  Leonard's  voice  was  full  of  tears,  although  he  and 
Chuck  were  often  at  odds. 

"Was  he  shot  by  some  jealous  husband  or  boyfriend?" 
he  asked.  "I've  always  been  afraid  that  might  happen." 

"I  don't  know,"  Pince  said.  "We're  trying  to  find  out.' 

No  one  knew  at  this  point  who  the  shooter  was. 

The  investigators  knew  that  first  day  that  Chuck's  love  life 
was  problematical.  Early  in  the  afternoon,  Deputy  Wynn  Hol- 
dal  called  the  North  Middle  School  to  talk  to  Everett  police 
officer  Dan  Boardley  who  worked  security  at  the  school. 
Boardley  said  he'd  talked  to  the  school's  vice  principal. 


63 


ANN  RULE 

"He  told  me  he  spoke  with  Chuck  last  night  about  nine 
o'clock.  Chuck  told  him  he  was  with  a  'skinny  blonde' 
and  they  were  going  to  Harrah's  Club,"  not  the  one  in  Ne- 
vada, but  a  local  gambling  casino. 

Chuck  was  probably  joking,  but  he'd  sounded  kind  of 
"down."  Boardley  got  the  impression  that  the  woman  sit- 
ting with  him  was  a  casual  acquaintance. 


From  the  very  beginning  there  were  many  possible  sus- 
pects and  motives  in  the  death  of  Charles  Fred  Leonard. 
He  was  a  convivial  man  who  was  almost  always  in  a  good 
mood.  But  he  was  also  a  man  who  walked  by  himself  and 
lived  by  his  own  rules,  incurring  envy  in  many  men,  jeal- 
ousy in  others.  He  was  witty  and  fiinny  and  great  to  be 
around.  He  wasn't  legally  divorced  from  Teresa  Gaethe- 
Leonard  when  he  died,  but  they  had  been  separated  for 
two  years. 

He  was  said  to  be  dating  at  least  three  attractive  young 
women  at  the  same  time,  and  he  had  romanced  more 
women  in  his  lifetime  than  most  men  could  dream  of 

Still,  if  Chuck  Leonard  had  many  female  friends,  he 
also  had  lots  of  male  friends  who  found  him  generous,  a 
hard  worker,  a  loyal  friend,  and  a  good  neighbor. 

He  was  over  fifty,  but  he  looked  much  closer  to  forty, 
and  he  had  the  perfect  house  for  a  bachelor  or  divorce.  The 
bottom  floor  of  his  home,  which  could  only  be  entered 
from  the  outside,  was  where  he  made  and  stored  wine.  He 
was  as  knowledgeable  about  wine  as  a  sommelier,  and 
proud  of  his  skill. 

The  next  two  floors  were  stacked  on  top  of  that  with 

64 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

the  living  room-great  room  almost  at  street  level.  Who- 
ever came  and  went  couldn't  be  easily  monitored  by 
neighbors. 

Chuck  loved  kids,  and  he  enjoyed  his  job.  He  had  many 
friends  and  enough  money  to  get  by.  His  health  was  great. 
His  biggest  worry  was  that  Teresa  might  take  Morgan  far 
away,  but  so  far  he'd  been  able  to  see  his  little  girl  often, 
and  he  figured  his  background  would  impress  a  judge 
more  thaA  Teresa's.  He  didn't  even  dislike  Teresa;  she  was 
more  an  irritant  than  a  threat. 

Everyone  who  mattered  to  Chuck  liked  him. 

At  least  so  it  had  seemed  until  Thursday,  February  20, 
1997.  But  someone  had  hated  him  enough  to  shoot  him 
while  he  slept. 

Teresa  planned  Chuck's  fiineral.  She  told  Chuck's  sis- 
ter, Theresa,  that  she  was  thinking  of  using  some  lines 
from  Goethe  in  the  eulogy  she  was  writing;  Theresa 
thought  that  was  pretentious.  She  doubted  that  Teresa  had 
anywhere  near  the  education  she  claimed  she  had. 

Teresa  wanted  the  service  to  be  perfect,  but  when  she 
arrived,  few  mourners  approached  her.  Chuck's  friends 
had  never  cared  much  for  her,  and  rather  than  being  the 
star  of  the  event,  Teresa  was  more  a  wallflower.  Basically, 
no  one  acknowledged  her,  except  Chuck's  uncle.  No  one 
spoke  to  her.  When  she  went  into  the  family  room  at  the 
funeral  parlor,  she  appeared  upset — and  intoxicated;  she 
1  reeked  of  alcohol.  Teresa  had  maintained  close  ties  with 
Chuck's  father  and  stepmother;  Caroline  Leonard  felt 
I  sorry  for  her  and  patted  the  chair  next  to  her.  The  elder 
Leonards  asked  Teresa  to  be  in  the  reception  line,  but  she 
didn't  want  to  do  that,  despite  her  friend  Joyce  Lilly  telling 

65 


ANN  RULE 

her  that  she  should.  Teresa  almost  fainted,  and  Joyce  took 
her  back  to  the  family  room. 

Then  they  went  to  the  cemetery.  Bonnie,  who  had  only 
worked  for  Teresa  for  two  months  at  The  Consignment 
Shop,  walked  up  to  her  and  Teresa  hugged  her  for  a  long 
time.  It  seemed  as  though  it  was  at  least  ten  minutes.  Bon- 
nie was  surprised  and  somewhat  embarrassed.  She  really 
didn't  know  Teresa  well  at  all.  It  was  as  if  her  boss  wanted 
to  show  people  that  she  did  have  friends  after  all  and  they 
cared  about  her. 

A  short  time  later,  the  funeral  director  approached 
Joyce  and  said,  "I  think  Teresa  needs  to  go." 

Teresa  sat  in  Joyce's  car,  her  head  down.  When  they 
reached  the  main  street,  Teresa  "just  looked  up  and  said, 
'Get  me  the  fuck  out  of  here.' " 


66 


Chapter  Four 


Back  on  the  night  of  Chuck's  murder,  detectives  Brad 
Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  weren't  sure  what  to  expect  at  Joyce 
Lilly's  house,  but  they  found  two  rather  nervous  woman — 
Joyce  more  so  than  Teresa — and  a  pretty  little  girl,  who 
was  recovering  from  a  visit  to  the  dentist.  Her  face  had 
puffed  up  and  bruised  after  her  treatment  the  day  before. 
The  two  detectives  were  relieved  that  this  time  they  didn't 
have  to  be  the  ones  who  broke  the  news  to  a  widow.  And  it 
soon  became  obvious  that  Teresa  had  had  very  loose  con- 
nections to  Chuck;  they  were  legally  married,  but  that's 
about  all.  Apparently,  they'd  led  separate  lives  for  some 
time.  Although  she  had  called  his  school  asking  about 
where  he  was,  she  hadn't  returned  any  calls  from  the  Sher- 
iff's Office. 

When  Detective  John  Padilla  had  notified  Michelle 
Conley  about  Chuck's  murder,  he  gleaned  more  informa- 
tion. "They  fought  like  cats  and  dogs,"  Michelle  said.  She 
explained  that  the  Leonards'  separation  was  anything  but 
friendly,  and  that  Chuck  only  dealt  with  her  because  he 
cared  so  much  about  Morgan. 


67 


ANN  RULE 

Teresa  introduced  the  detectives  to  Joyce  Lilly,  com- 
menting that  they  were  "best  friends." 

Only  five,  Morgan  Leonard  hadn't  been  told  that  her 
father  was  dead.  If  she  had  ioiown  at  this  point,  she 
couldn't  possibly  have  understood  the  enormity  of  her  loss 
or  begin  to  understand  that  the  life  she  had  known  up  until 
now  had  changed  cataclysmically.  The  daddy  who  had 
loved  her  so  much  was  never  coming  back. 

There  was  nothing  particularly  overt  about  either  Tere- 
sa's or  Joyce's  actions  that  made  the  two  Snohomish 
County  detectives  suspicious.  Joyce  excused  herself  and 
carried  Morgan  upstairs  so  that  they  could  talk  to  Teresa 
alone. 

"We  tentatively  considered  Teresa  a  suspect  because  of 
their  acrimonious  divorce,  and  we  had  talked  to  Michelle," 
Scharf  explains.  "We  always  tend  to  look  initially  at  the 
people  closest  to  the  victim.  We  didn't  know  much  about 
the  Leonards'  history  that  first  night." 

Teresa  didn't  seem  grief-stricken,  but  then  she  wasn't 
a  widow  in  the  -strictest  sense  of  the  word.  She  told  the 
investigators  that  she  had  wanted  a  divorce  for  a  long 
time,  and  that  Chuck  was  the  one  who  wanted  to  stay 
married.  Her  decision  to  delay  a  divorce  was  purely  prag- 
matic. She  explained  that  she  wasn't  a  wealthy  woman, 
and  she  had  had  to  think  about  how  she  and  Morgan 
could  get  by. 

"I've  had  open-heart  surgery,"  she  said,  "and  I  need — j 
needed — Chuck's  medical  insurance,  as  I  don't  know  what 
might  happen  with  my  health.  I  couldn't  afford  it  on  my] 
own." 


68 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Chuck  had  been  good  about  his  child  support  pay- 
ments. He  paid  her  $350  a  month  regularly.  "I  work,  too, 
of  course,"  she  added.  "I've  had  my  consignment  shop  in 
Marysville  for  three  years.  Before  that,  I  worked  for  the 
Bon  Mar^e." 

Teresa's  clothing  resale  business,  combined  with  Mor- 
gan's child  support  money  and  a  part-time  job  with  a 
travel  agency,  gave  them  just  about  enough  to  pay  rent  on 
their  small  apartment  on  Everett  Mall  Way,  and  to  buy 
groceries  and  other  necessities  of  life. 

Detective  John  Padilla  joined  his  fellow  investigators  at 
Joyce  Lilly's  house.  The  three  detectives  listened  intently 
as  Teresa  told  them  what  Chuck  had  been  like. 

She  said  that  she  thought  her  estranged  husband  had 
lots  of  girlfriends,  and  that  he  lived  the  high  life. 

"Do  you  know  any  of  their  names?"  Pince  asked. 

She  shook  her  head.  "No,  I  don't." 

She  suggested  that  Chuck  was  careless  about  safety 
precautions,  and  that  he  didn't  always  lock  his  doors  at 
night.  "He  wanted  his  cats  to  be  able  to  come  in  and  out. 
He  liked  cats." 

When  she  was  asked  about  the  last  time  she'd  been  to 
the  lake  house,  Teresa  was  emphatic.  "I  haven't  been  there 
for  two  years — ^not  since  the  day  I  left." 

Although  Morgan  spent  alternate  weeks  with  Chuck, 
Teresa  said  she  never  went  into  Chuck's  house  with  her. 
Instead,  they  set  up  meetings  somewhere  else  to  facilitate 
the  exchange. 

"What  kind  of  father  was  Chuck?"  Pince  asked. 

"He  was  a  good  father,"  she  said  softly. 


ANN  RULE 

Asked  about  life  insurance,  Teresa  shook  her  head.  She 
didn't  believe  Chuck  had  any.  Nor  did  she  seem  to  be 
aware  that  Morgan  would  be  eligible  for  Chuck's  Social 
Security  survivor  benefits  now. 

"Are  you  dating  anyone?"  Pince  asked.  "Someone  im- 
portant in  your  life? 

"No,  there's  no  one,"  she  said  convincingly. 

Teresa  painted  her  deceased  and  estranged  husband  as  a 
complete  playboy,  who  had  any  number  of  "big-boy  toys." 

"He  has  a  Cessna  airplane  at  the  Arlington  Airport,  and 
he  keeps  his  Corvette  there,  too,"  she  said.  "He  has  a 
brown-and-cream-colored  boat.  Chuck  spent  his  money 
on  wine  and  cars." 

She  also  said  that  he  was  addicted  to  pornographic 
movies.  She  spoke  quietly  and  seemed  quite  vulnerable. 
Except  for  his  predilection  for  attractive  women,  her  take 
on  her  estranged  husband  was  far  different  from  what 
they  had  heard  so  far  from  others  who  knew  him.  And  yet 
it  was  difficult  to  ascertain  what  Teresa's  true  emotions 
were.  That  was  perhaps  understandable;  Chuck's  murder 
was  too  fresh. 

When  Brad  Pince  asked  Teresa  how  she  had  spent  the 
previous  day — February  1 9,  a  Wednesday — she  could  ac- 
count for  almost  every  minute.  She  had  taken  Morgan  to 
the  dentist  to  have  some  cavities  filled  two  days  before  and 
she  was  concerned  that  her  daughter's  face  was  swollen 
and  bruised;  she  wanted  the  dentist  to  check  Morgan's 
condition.  Then  they  had  run  some  errands  and  purchased  j  ^i 
some  soft  food  that  Morgan  could  eat. 

"By  the  time  we  got  home,  it  must  have  been  five  thirty 


70 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

or  six  in  the  evening.  Then  Joyce  came  over,  and  she 
stayed  and  visited  until  nine  or  nine  thirty.  I  didn't  go  out 
at  all  last  nigkt.  I  went  to  bed  about  eleven,  and  I  got  up  at 
nine  this  morning." 

It  was  midnight  on  a  day  that  seemed  to  go  on  forever 
when  Brad  Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  left  Joyce  Lilly's  home. 

They  didn't  know  what  to  think.  The  murder  investiga- 
tion had  just  begun,  and  it  sounded  as  though  there  were 
many  people  they  needed  to  talk  to.  Joyce  Lilly  had  practi- 
cally quivered  with  anxiety  during  their  visit  to  her  home, 
while  Teresa  seemed  to  be  in  control.  They  didn't  view  the 
two  women's  behavior  as  indicative  of  innocence  or  guilt. 
They  had  done  enough  felony  investigations  to  know  that 
people  in  shock  and  suffering  loss  react  in  all  different 
ways. 

Teresa  Gaethe- Leonard  was  a  slender,  very  attractive 
blonde.  She  appeared  to  have  a  core  of  strength  in  her. 
That  was  fortunate,  the  detectives  thought.  She  was  really 
on  her  own  now;  she  would  have  to  raise  Morgan  all  alone, 
as  best  she  could.  It  was  easy  to  feel  sorry  for  her,  but  ho- 
micide detectives  always  look  at  the  nether  side  of  human 
behavior;  they  have  learned  to  observe  with  jaundiced 
eyes.  Teresa  was  almost  too  calm  in  the  face  of  searing 
tragedy. 

Maybe  the  enormity  of  it  hadn't  hit  her  yet. 

And  then  again,  Brad  Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  didn't  know 
yet  that  Teresa  was  far  from  alone.  She  had  lied  to  them 
when  she  said  she  had  no  boyfriend.  She  hadn't  mentioned 
Nick  Callas,  her  rich  lover  in  Lahaina,  Hawaii. 

Only  one  thing  struck  them  as  strange.  Near  the  end  of 


71 


ANN  RULE 

their  conversation  with  her,  it  occurred  to  Brad  Pince  that 
Teresa  hadn't  once  asked  how  Chuck  had  died. 

Odd. 

"Do  you  know  what  happened  to  Chuck?"  Pince  asked 
her. 

"I  was  told  that  he  died,"  she  said  faintly.  "But  I  don 
know  how  or  any  of  the  details.  From  the  questions  that 
you've  asked  me,  I  can  guess  at  some  of  those  details.' 


•.I 


The  next  forty-eight  hours  passed  in  a  blur  for  both  the 
Snohomish  County  investigators  and  Chuck  Leonard's 
friends  and  family.  His  fatal  shooting  made  the  top  of 
television  news  broadcasts  and  headlines  in  Seattle  and 
Everett  newspapers.  Although  it  happens  more  often  than 
most  people  would  like  to  think,  schoolteachers  and  coun- 
selors do  become  involved  in  scandals  and  violent-death 
investigations,  just  as  some  doctors,  ministers,  politicians, 
and  people  in  every  other  demographic  do. 

But  the  public  is  still  shocked  and,  yes,  intrigued.  There 
is  something  about  the  dichotomy  between  a  victim's  pub- 
lic image  and  a  shocking  crime  that  fascinates  those  not 
directly  affected. 

But  those  who  knew  Chuck  Leonard  grieved,  including 
many  teenagers  he  had  helped  through  the  problems  of 
adolescence. 

Morgan  had  yet  to  realize  her  daddy  was  gone  forever. 

Snohomish  County  detectives  and  deputies  canvassed 
the  neighborhood  on  the  lake  where  Chuck  had  lived,  al- 
though they  found  little  information  that  helped.  One 
neighbor  woman  said  she  had  stayed  up  long  after  her 

72 


her 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

husband  went  to  bed.  She  had  heard  what  she  thought  was 
a  scream.  If  she  had,  it  had  nothing  to  do  with  Chuck 
Leonard.  IjSe  hadn't  been  home  near  midnight  when  she'd 
heard  that  strange  sound. 

The  only  likely  "ear  witness"  was  Dr.  Staunton,  Chuck's 
chiropractor  friend  who  lived  next  door.  There  seemed  to 
be  no  eyewitnesses  at  all. 

Brad  Pince  talked  to  Theresa  Leonard,  who  had  deep 
suspicions  about  who  had  killed  her  brother.  She  didn't 
want  to  know  what  her  gut  was  telling  her.  She  told  Pince 
that  she  thought  Teresa  was  crazy  and  left  it  at  that. 

"I  knew,"  she  said  years  later.  "I  just  knew  Teresa  had 
done  it.  I  did  tell  our  parents  that,  but  it  was  hard  for  them 
to  accept." 

"You  really  think  she  could  have  done  it?"  Pince  asked. 

"I  don't  know.  .  .  .  She's  weird — that's  all  I  can  tell  you 
for  sure." 

Initially,  Teresa  made  attempts  to  bond  more  closely 
with  Chuck's  family.  She  wanted  them  to  get  together  and 
go  to  the  cemetery  with  Morgan  four  days  after  the  mur- 
der. His  father  had  just  had  shoulder  surgery  and  wasn't  up 
to  going.  A  week  later,  Teresa  and  her  father-in-law  and 
Chuck's  stepmother  had  lunch  together.  When  Theresa 
showed  up,  too,  the  new  widow  was  taken  off  guard; 
Chuck's  sister  hadn't  been  invited. 

For  the  first  time  Caroline  Leonard,  Theresa's  stepmother, 
understood  her  suspicions  about  Teresa.  She  watched, 
shocked,  at  the  way  Teresa  glared  at  "Aunt  Theresa." 

Later,  she  said,  "Boy!  She  really  hates  you!" 

Theresa  tried  to  see  Morgan  and  asked  if  she  could  take 
her  for  a  visit  for  a  while. 

73 


ANN  RULE 

"No!"  Teresa  said.  "She  can't." 

A  few  days  later,  there  was  a  memorial  for  Chuck  orga- 
nized by  his  school,  and  hundreds  of  people  came,  includ- 
ing many  former  students  who  eulogized  him  for  making 
their  lives  better  and  for  being  there  when  they  needed  a 
friend  and  counselor. 

This  could  have  been  something  that  Morgan  would 
remember  her  whole  life,  that  would  make  her  proud  of 
her  father.  But  Teresa  refused  to  let  her  attend,  telling  her 
that  children  weren't  allowed.  That  wasn't  true:  other 
people's  children  and  teenagers  attended  the  memorial 
service.  When  it  became  too  crowded  inside,  they  stood 
outside,  listening  as  Chuck  was  praised  for  his  devotion 
to  children. 

Many  had  tears  running  down  their  cheeks. 


Joyce  Lilly  worried  incessantly  about  what  would  be- 
come of  Morgan,  whom  she  loved  dearly.  But  Joyce  had 
worries  of  her  own.  She  considered  Teresa  Leonard  her 
best  friend  and  believed  sincerely  that  their  devotion 
went  both  ways.  Joyce  was  divorced,  Teresa  had  been 
separated  for  two  years,  and  as  two  women  alone,  they 
shared  many  things  in  common. 

The  investigators  learned  that  Teresa  was  not  only 
popular  with  men;  there  were  some  women  who  liked  her, 
too.  Those  who  worked  for  her  at  her  consignment  shop 
adored  her. 

Then  again,  there  were  females  who  detested  her  and 
said  so.  But  not  her  close  friends  or  her  staff. 


74 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"She's  just*the  sweetest  little  thing,"  one  salesclerk  told 
reporters — asking  that  her  name  not  be  revealed.  "She's 
just  a  nice  girl." 

Joyce  felt  the  same  way,  although  she  had  seen  glimpses 
of  another  side  of  Teresa  that  sometimes  disturbed  her.  Te- 
resa was  far  more  confident  than  she  was,  and  the  life  she 
lived  sometimes  gave  Joyce  pause. 

Now,  Joyce  had  a  problem  that  she  didn't  think  she 
could  discuss  with  anyone.  Usually,  she  talked  things  over 
with  Teresa — but  that  was  clearly  impossible:  Teresa  was 
the  problem.  Teresa  had  used  Joyce  as  a  sounding  board,  a 
patient  and  supportive  friend.  She  always  seemed  to  be 
embroiled  in  one  messy  incident  or  another.  But  Joyce 
didn't  want  to  get  involved  in  them  any  longer,  although 
she  feared  she  might  already  be,  and  that  scared  her. 

Up  until  the  night  of  February  19,  listening  to  Teresa's 
problems  had  been  akin  to  watching  a  suspense  movie. 
Joyce  had  listened,  fascinated,  and  then  become  a  part  of 
Teresa's  secret  life  when  they  traveled  several  times  to  Ha- 
waii so  her  best  friend  could  have  a  rendezvous  with  Nick 
Callas. 

Teresa's  life  wasn't  intriguing  now.  It  was  fraught  with 
danger  and  the  possibility  that  she  would  have  to  pay  the 
piper  for  always  taking  what  she  wanted. 


75 


Chapter  Five 


Teresa  might  have  had  good  reasons  for  wanting  to 
escape  Louisiana  and  her  early  years.  According  to  her 
older  sister  Lois,  she,  Teresa,  and  their  younger  sister  lived 
a  "life  of  fear." 

"Our  family  looked  just  like  the  typical  family,"  the 
special-education  teacher  confided.  "Everything  looked 
good  on  the  outside." 

No  one  can  see  what  goes  on  behind  closed  doors,  and 
the  Joneses — mother  and  three  daughters—  were  afraid  of 
their  husband  and  father,  a  steamship  captain.  Their  older 
brother  had  seemingly  escaped  unscathed,  leaving  home 
as  soon  as  he  could  get  away.  The  sisters  were  grateful 
when  their  father  was  gone,  but  he  always  came  home,  and 
he  apparently  wielded  power  over  all  of  them. 

Lois  said  her  father  had  abused  her  sexually  and  that 
she  had  tried  her  best  to  protect  her  mother  from  spousal 
abuse  and  her  younger  sisters  from  going  through  what 
she  had.  There  was  a  terrible  night  when  she  heard  her 
mother  crying  hysterically.  She  forced  her  way  into  their 
bedroom  and  found  Ervin  Jones  choking  his  wife.  She 
stood  up  to  him  and  probably  saved  her  mother. 

77 


ANN  RULE 

None  of  the  females  in  their  family  talked  about  what 
was  happening,  not  even  to  each  other.  They  were  in  deep 
denial.  "It  was  really  tense  in  our  home.  It  was  very  tense. 
You  didn't  talk  about  [such]  things.  No  one  knew." 

They  did  their  best,  according  to  Lois,  to  stay  out  of 
their  brutal  father's  way,  tiptoeing  around,  hoping  he 
wouldn't  notice  them. 

But  secret  things  went  on.  Lois  and  Teresa's  baby  sister, 
Macie,  often  slipped  into  her  room  late  at  night  to  crawl  in 
bed  with  Lois. 

"She  would  be  crying." 

But  none  of  the  girls  told  each  other  what  was  happen- 
ing to  them,  so  the  dark  secrets  continued.  Although  Lois 
may  have  suspected  that  Teresa  was  being  molested,  too, 
she  was  never  convinced  until  the  summer  of  1997,  long 
after  Teresa  had  left  Chuck.  The  three  sisters,  adults  now, 
had  sought  out  a  therapist  and  Lois  said  Teresa  had  finally 
confessed  that  their  father  had  sexually  abused  her. 

When  she  talked  about  their  childhood,  Lois  cried,  her 
mind  going  back  to  a  time  when  they  were  all  helpless  to 
do  anything  about  their  situation  and  their  mother  was  too 
frightened  and  weak  to  protect  them. 

If  her  memories  were  true,  that  might  explain  why  Te- 
resa hated  some  men,  distrusted  others,  and  continually 
tried  to  better  her  situation  by  seeking  out  men  she  thought 
had  a  lot  of  money.  If  Lois  was  embroidering  the  truth,  she 
might  only  be  the  protective  big  sister  who  had  always 
done  whatever  she  could  to  shelter  her  younger  siblings 
from  stress  and  unhappiness. 

But,  of  course,  she  couldn't  do  that.  In  any  murder 


78 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

probe,  detectives  look  first  at  those  closest  to  the  victim  or 
victims.  Despite  their  digging,  they  had  found  no  one  who 
had  a  grudge  against  Chuck  Leonard — no  one  but  Teresa, 
his  estranged  wife. 

Still,  the  two  detectives  found  it  difficult  to  believe  that 
a  small  woman  would  go  so  far  as  to  sneak  into  a  house 
she  hadn't  entered  in  two  years,  creep  through  the  dark, 
and  have  the  nerve  to  fire  into  the  sleeping  man  who  was 
at  least  twice  as  strong  as  she  was.  Afi:er  all.  Chuck  could 
have  been  awake;  she  no  longer  kept  track  of  his  habits. 

And  they  had  parented  a  child  together,  a  little  girl  who 
loved  both  of  them.  If  Teresa  loved  Morgan  as  much  as  her 
sisters  and  friends  said  she  did,  how  could  she  even  think 
of  taking  her  father  away  from  her? 

Teresa's  plans  didn't  make  a  lot  of  sense;  she  was  basing 
her  future  on  an  almost  impossible  scenario.  Everythmg — 
even  things  that  seemed  impossible — would  have  to  fall 
precisely  into  place  for  a  surrogate  to  carry  Nick's  natural 
child,  and  for  him  to  leave  his  wealthy  wife  and  the  boy  he 
had  adopted,  a  boy  he  loved. 

Infamous  female  criminals  like  Susan  Smith,  Casey 
Anthony,  and  Diane  Downs  have  devised  similar  schemes, 
building  castles  in  the  sky  out  of  diaphanous  threads 
hooked  to  weak  foundations.  They  all  murdered  their  own 
children,  sacrificing  them  to  get  what  they  wanted,  to  find 
perfect  love.  And  there  have  been  scores  more  women 
without  conscience  who  have  killed  people  who  trusted 
them  to  achieve  what  they  think  will  make  them  happy. 

Joyce  Lilly  had  heard  Teresa's  stories  about  how  cruel 
Chuck  was  to  her.  She  said  that  he  hadn't  been  happy  at  all 


79 


ANN  RULE 

when  she  became  pregnant.  She  said  he  even  suggested 
that  she  get  an  abortion  because  he  "didn't  need  Httle 
monsters  running  around." 

Later,  detectives  who  talked  with  Joyce  sometimes 
wondered  if  she  had  been  present  when  Chuck  allegedly 
was  mean  to  Teresa,  or  if  she  was  going  by  what  Teresa 
had  told  her.  He  was  a  natural  flirt — he  always  had  been, 
and  some  of  Teresa's  friends  thought  he  was  coming  on  to 
them.  Teresa  agreed  with  them  that  he  probably  was.  That 
only  deepened  their  suspicion  that  poor  Teresa  was  living 
a  life  of  terror  and  abuse.  Whether  she  told  them  about  her 
childhood  abuse  isn't  clear,  but  her  staunch  supporters 
gathered  around  her  as  sheriff's  detectives  asked  more  and 
more  probing  questions. 

Rick  Lilly,*  Joyce's  ex-husband,  called  her  at  9:30  a.m. 
on  February  20,  a  few  hours  after  Chuck's  body  was  found 
but  before  his  death  had  been  reported  on  the  news.  Joyce 
was  moving  to  a  smaller  place,  and  Rick  had  agreed  to 
buy  some  of  her  fiimiture. 

Rick  had  never  approved  of  Joyce's  tight  friendship 
with  Teresa.  He  didn't  trust  Teresa,  and  thought  she  was 
too  controlling  with  Joyce.  But  he  hadn't  yet  heard  that 
Chuck  Leonard  was  dead,  so  when  Joyce's  answering  ma- 
chine picked  up  the  call,  he  left  a  brief  message  asking  her 
to  call  him  back. 

She  didn't  return  his  call  until  about  four  in  the  after- 
noon, saying  she  had  slept  in  because  she  had  been  up 
until  three  in  the  morning.  "There  were  some  police  offi- 
cers here,"  she  said  in  a  worried  voice. 

"What  are  police  officers  doing  at  your  house?"  Rick 
asked  incredulously. 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

She  explained  that  Teresa's  husband  had  been  shot  to 
death,  and  that  the  detectives  were  asking  Teresa  ques- 
tions. 'T  was  mostly  upstairs  with  Morgan,  playing  games 
and  coloring  and — " 

"Why  was  Teresa  at  your  house?"  he  asked  next. 

"She  doesn't  have  anyone  else  but  me,"  Joyce  said. 
"I'm  the  only  friend  she  has,  and  she's  going  through  a  ter- 
rible time  right  now.  I'm  helping  her  with  whatever  I  can." 

Rick  listened,  shaking  his  head.  Joyce  was  such  a  patsy, 
always  acting  without  thinking,  and  now  she  might  have 
herself  in  a  hell  of  a  mess.  Joyce  went  on  talking,  and  he 
listened,  trying  to  come  up  with  a  way  she  could  detach 
herself  from  her  good  friend,  Teresa. 

Joyce  was  trying  to  do  that  herself;  she  wasn't  answer- 
ing or  returning  calls  or  pages  from  either  Teresa  or  Nick 
Callas. 

Rick  called  her  back  the  next  morning.  He  had  thought 
about  Chuck  Leonard's  murder  overnight,  and  he  asked 
his  ex-wife  point-blank:  "Joyce,  do  you  think  that  Teresa 
might  be  'dirty'?" 

"What  do  you  mean  by  'dirty'?" 

"You  know  what  I  mean.  Do  you  think  that  she  did  it?" 

"You  don't  know  Teresa  the  way  I  know  her,"  Joyce  lied 
frantically.  "She  couldn't  do  anything  like  this." 

"Well,  okay,  but  keep  clear  of  her — ^this  thing  doesn't 
have  a  good  smell  to  it." 

Joyce  wanted  to  tell  her  ex-husband  that  Teresa  had  told 
her  she  was  the  one  who  had  shot  Chuck,  and  that  she 
hadn't  shown  any  grief  or  remorse  over  it.  Now  she  didn't 
know  what  she  should  do.  But  she  was  afraid.  She  was 
more  afraid  after  hearing  his  questions. 

81 


ANN  RULE 

Rick  Lilly  dropped  by  to  see  her  a  few  days  later.  He 
was  taunting  her,  making  up  a  story — but  he  was  very 
close  to  the  truth.  "They've  arrested  your  pal,"  he  said. 
"She's  in  the  jailhouse  now." 

"No,  they  haven't,"  Joyce  said.  "They  didn't  arrest  her. 
Don't  say  that." 

"Don't  you  listen  to  the  radio?"  he  asked,  taunting  her 
still  more  as  Joyce  kept  protesting.  Rick  wasn't  looking  at 
her,  but  when  he  turned  around,  he  saw  that  she  had  burst 
into  tears,  and  he  apologized. 

"I'm  just  kidding  you,  Joyce,"  Rick  said.  "I  was  only 
joking.  Teresa  didn't  get  arrested." 

Joyce  was  close  to  hysteria,  sobbing  as  she  gasped, 
"She  killed  him,  she  killed  him,  oh,  why  would  she  tell 
m.e?  Why?  You  don't  know  the  story  like  I  do." 

And  now  as  she  poured  out  her  worries  to  Rick,  he  was 
the  one  who  had  a  hard  time  believing  her.  She  told  Rick 
that  Teresa  had  described  shooting  Chuck  three  times  in 
the  chest.  She  made  him  promise  not  to  teil  anyone — it 
would  ruin  Morgan's  life.  Joyce  couldn't  bear  for  her  to  be 
hurt  anymore. 

Joyce  said  that  she'd  moved  a  white  bag  that  Teresa 
gave  her  only  hours  after  Chuck's  murder  from  her  car 
trunk  into  her  garage,  hiding  it  behind  some  boxes.  A  few 
days  later  as  she  was  cleaning  the  garage,  she  reached  up 
to  move  the  bag  and  it  hit  a  pier  support.  She  heard  a  dull 
"clunk."' 

Trembling,  she'd  untied  the  top  of  the  bag  and  looked 
in.  There  was  a  heavy  handgun  inside,  and  some  of  Tere- 
sa's clothes,  stiff  with  dried  blood. 


82 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"Where's  the  bag  now?"  Rick  asked,  still  doubting 
Joyce. 

"I  hid  it.  I  don't  want  to  hurt  my  best  friend,  but  I'm 
frightened  to  death.  I  could  go  to  jail,  myself,"  Joyce  cried. 
"But  I  had  nothing  to  do  with  Chuck  Leonard's  murder.  I 
don't  know  what  to  do.  Teresa's  been  calling  me  every 
hour,  but  I  don't  answer." 

Joyce's  ex-husband  looked  at  her  incredulously  as  she 
detailed  for  him  what  had  her  so  jittery.  Tears  leaked  from 
her  eyes  as  she  spoke,  and  her  hands  shook.  She  hadn't 
been  able  to  sleep  more  than  a  few  hours  at  night. 

Rick  shook  his  head  in  disbelief:  how  could  she  have 
been  so  dumb?  Every  day  that  had  gone  by  while  she  hid 
evidence  for  her  precious  Teresa,  she  had  been  risking  her 
own  reputation,  not  to  mention  her  freedom.  He  told  Joyce 
that  she  could  very  well  go  to  jail  for  hiding  evidence,  and 
for  being  an  "accessory  after  the  fact." 

He  wasn't  very  sympathetic,  but  he  gave  her  good 
advice.  "You're  a  fool  if  you  don't  call  a  lawyer  right  now 
and  tell  the  police  everything  you  know.  I'll  go  with 
you." 

They  had  some  difficulty  finding  an  attorney  who  prac- 
ticed criminal  law.  Rick's  own  attorneys  said  they  did  not, 
and  they  recommended  George  Cody.  But  when  he  called. 
Rick  learned  that  Cody  was  already  representing  Teresa 
Leonard. 

Lilly's  civil  attorneys  next  suggested  George  Bowden. 
Bowden  agreed  to  meet  them.  So  it  was  that  Friday  eve- 
ning, February  28,  eight  days  after  Chuck  Leonard's  mur- 
der, Joyce  and  Rick  walked  into  George  Bowden 's  Everett 


83 


ANN  RULE 

office  carrying  a  box  of  evidence — all  the  items  Teresa 
had  told  Joyce  to  hide. 

Joyce  poured  out  her  story  to  Bowden,  and  he  said  he 
would  represent  her.  The  sheriff's  Major  Crimes  Unit  was 
closed  this  late  on  a  Friday  night,  but  Bowden  promised 
her  he  would  go  to  talk  with  detectives  early  Saturday 
morning.  In  the  meantime,  he  would  lock  up  the  white 
plastic  bag  with  the  .45 -caliber  handgun,  Teresa's  clothes 
and  bloodied  boots,  and  other  items  Teresa  had  given 
Joyce  in  his  office. 

On  Saturday,  March  1,  1997,  Brad  Pince  talked  to  a 
"very  upset"  Joyce  Lilly.  She  turned  over  the  bag  of  evi- 
dence. For  homicide  detectives,  it  was  a  bonanza,  some- 
thing they  never  imagined  they  would  find.  More  than  the 
physical  evidence,  they  had  a  witness  who  could  tell  them 
what  had  happened  nine  days  earlier.  While  she  hadn't 
actually  been  present  when  Chuck  was  shot,  they  had  the 
next  thing  to  it  in  Joyce  Lilly. 

If  she  was  about  to  tell  them  the  truth,  the  deadly  puz- 
zle would  be  solved.  That  was,  of  course,  a  big  ''if." 

Aware  now  that  he  and  Jim  Scharf  hadn't  heard  the 
whole  truth  on  the  evening  after  Chuck  Leonard  died, 
Pince  asked  Joyce  Lilly  if  she  had  been  honest  with  them. 
Tears  rolling  down  her  cheeks,  she  shook  her  head.  She 
admitted  that  she'd  known  then  who  killed  Chuck,  but  that 
she  had  lied  for  Teresa.  As  the  days  passed,  Joyce  Lilly 
said  she  couldn't  sleep,  and  she  was  close  to  having  a 
panic  attack  when  she  turned  to  her  former  husband  for 
advice.  Although  they  were  no  longer  married,  she  trusted 
his  opinion  and  she  had  to  talk  to  someone. 

"One  night  back  in  November,  a  couple  of  months  be- 

84 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

fore  somebody  shot  Chuck,"  Joyce  began  "Teresa  came  by 
to  leave  Morgan  with  me  to  babysit.  She  was  dressed 
strangely,  wearing  black  sweatpants,  a  dark  fuzzy  jacket, 
and  boots." 

"It  was  almost  winter,  wasn't  it?"  Scharf  asked.  "Why 
was  it  strange  for  her  to  dress  like  that?" 

"It  wasn't  Teresa's  style — not  at  all,"  Joyce's  words 
tumbled  out.  "She  said  'How  do  you  like  my  outfit?'  " 

Joyce  closed  her  eyes,  remembering  the  incident.  "I 
said,  Tt  doesn't  look  like  you.' " 

"That's  the  point,"  Teresa  had  said  succinctly. 

Joyce  said  she'd  stared  at  Teresa,  baffled.  And  then  she 
was  shocked  when  Teresa  told  her  that  she  would  have 
killed  Chuck  that  night  if  she'd  only  had  enough  time. 

That  didn't  even  seem  possible,  and  she  had  finally  de- 
cided that  Teresa  was  engaging  in  some  kind  of  black 
humor. 

"But  she  seemed  serious,  even  though  she  didn't  men- 
tion killing  Chuck  again.  And  then  the  holidays  came  and 
nothing  happened,  and  Teresa's  custody  of  Morgan — 
sharing  with  Chuck,  you  know — went  on  just  like  before. 
One  week  with  Teresa,  one  week  with  Chuck — " 

Except  for  the  week  that  included  February  17-20, 
1997,  when  Morgan  had  her  dental  work  done. 

On  Wednesday,  February  19,  Teresa  told  Joyce  some- 
thing unbelievable:  "I'm  going  to  whack  Chuck  tonight." 

Joyce  had  just  stared  at  her  friend,  open-mouthed.  Te- 
resa had  that  same  icy  look  on  her  face  that  she'd  had  back 
in  November  when  she'd  showed  up  in  her  all-black  outfit. 

While  Joyce  believed  that  Chuck  had  been  abusive  to 
Teresa  and  she  felt  sorry  for  her,  that  was  no  reason  to  kill 

85 


ANN  RULE 

the  man.  That's  what  "whack"  meant,  she  thought;  she'd 
heard  it  on  gangster  television  shows. 

But  why?  Teresa  wasn't  in  danger  anymore;  she  and 
Chuck  didn't  live  together  any  longer.  They  were  both  in- 
volved with  other,  people,  and,  until  last  November,  Teresa 
said  she  hadn't  even  been  in  Chuck's  house  at  the  lake  for 
a  couple  of  years. 

Joyce  knew  better  than  to  try  to  talk  Teresa  out  of  any 
plans  she  made.  And  besides,  she  couldn't  believe  that 
Teresa  would  really  kill  Chuck.  She  often  behaved 
dramatically — that  was  part  of  what  made  her  an  interest- 
ing friend.  Being  with  Teresa  was  a  little  like  being  in  the 
center  of  a  soap  opera. 

Telling  herself  it  would  be  okay,  Joyce  Lilly  was  able  to 
get  to  sleep  on  Wednesday  night.  But  in  the  wee  hours  of 
February  20,  her  phone  trilled  and  she  woke  up  instantly, 
her  heart  thumping.  It  was  Teresa,  and  she  sounded  very 
upset.  She  begged  Joyce  to  come  to  her  apartment. 

As  she  always  did,  Joyce  said  she'd  be  there  as  soon  as 
she  could.  Teresa  hung  up  before  she  could  ask  her  any 
questions.  It  took  her  an  hour  to  get  dressed  and  arrive  at 
Teresa's.  When  Joyce  got  there,  Teresa  was  smoking  and 
drinking  scotch.  "She  was  very  shaken — almost  quivering," 
Joyce  said,  "and  Teresa's  always  in  control — always." 

Teresa  immediately  handed  her  a  white  plastic  bag  that 
was  tightly  tied  at  the  top. 

"I  want  you  to  put  this  in  the  trunk  of  your  car,"  she 
said. 

"What's  in  it?" 

"Just  do  it,  and  I'll  tell  you  when  you  come  back  in." 


86 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"You  did  it?"  Rick  Lilly  asked,  disgust  and  alarm  in  his 
voice.  "What  happened  then?" 

"I  did  it.  Teresa  said,  'I  shot  Chuck.  Three  times.'  And  I 
asked  her  'What?'  "  Joyce  said,  sobbing. 

Teresa  said  she'd  found  Chuck  alone,  sound  asleep  in 
his  bed.  She  had  fired  two  or  three  times  at  him  and  hit 
him  in  the  chest. 

"He  got  up  out  of  bed  and  chased  me,"  Teresa  recalled, 
shivering.  At  one  point.  Chuck  had  gotten  close  enough  to 
her  at  the  top  of  the  stairs  to  grab  her  by  the  ankle,  but 
then  his  grip  loosened. 

"At  the  top  of  the  stairs,  he  gasped,"  Teresa  said,  "and 
then  he  made  a  noise  and  fell — " 

"What  did  you  do?"  Joyce  asked.  "Did  he  look  at  you? 
Did  he  look  in  your  eyes?" 

"I  ran,"  Teresa  said.  "Yes  ...  he  looked  in  my  eyes." 

Teresa  told  her  good  friend  that  she  didn't  know  if 
Chuck  was  dead.  She  thought  he  was  alive.  "He's  so 
strong,"  she  breathed.  "He's  so  strong  .  .  ." 

She  didn't  seem  to  know  just  what  time  it  was  when  she 
shot  Chuck,  but  she  was  sure  she  was  back  in  her  apart- 
ment by  five  in  the  morning. 

Joyce  Lilly  didn't  want  to  believe  Teresa.  Teresa  was 
always  fiill  of  drama  and  exaggeration.  Surely  this  was 
another  of  her  fantasies — like  the  night  she  dressed  in  her 
"camouflage"  outfit. 

"Where  did  you  get  a  gun?"  Joyce  had  asked  in  a 
doubtful  voice. 

"I  bought  it  fi-om  some  guy  in  a  bar,"  Teresa  had  said,  with 
a  hint  of  pride  in  her  voice.  "It  was  just  like  a  TV  thing." 


87 


ANN  RULE 

Joyce  Lilly  drove  home  with  the  white  plastic  bag  in 
the  trunk  of  her  car.  Teresa  had  also  given  Joyce  the  key  to 
Chuck's  house,  even  though  Joyce  didn't  want  it. 

"Well,  I  can't  have  it,  you  need  to  take  it,"  Teresa  said 
imperiously. 

Joyce  threw  the  key  away  by  tossing  it  in  a  planter  bar- 
rel at  a  Jack  in  the  Box  restaurant  on  her  way  home. 

She  was  horrified  the  next  morning  when  the  news  that 
Chuck  Leonard  had  been  murdered  circulated  among  their 
friends,  and  then  was  on  the  top  of  the  radio  and  television 
news  shows  around  Seattle  and  Everett. 

Still,  Joyce  didn't  look  in  the  bag.  She  didn't  want  to 
know  what  was  in  it.  It  stayed  in  her  car  trunk,  like  a  poi- 
sonous snake  or  a  time  bomb,  while  she  worried  about 
what  she  should  do.  She  decided,  finally,  to  move  it  to  her 
garage. 

Joyce  admitted  now  to  Brad  Pince  and  Jim  Scharf  that 
she  had  known  that  Teresa  was  lying  to  them  on  the  night 
of  February  20  when  they  came  to  her  house  to  question 
Teresa.  She  told  them  about  Teresa's  hair  appointment  that 
day,  and  how  she  had  hidden  Teresa's  car  in  her  own  ga- 
rage at  her  request.  This  was  the  first  time  that  had  ever 
happened. 

She  repeated  Teresa's  statement  on  the  day  of  Chuck's 
murder  when  she  said  she  planned  to  "whack"  him. 

Still  half-expecting  to  go  to  jail,  Joyce  was  reassured 
when  that  didn't  happen.  As  she  left  the  sheriff's  office, 
she  wasn't  confident  that  it  wouldn't  occur  in  the  follow- 
ing days  and  she  shuddered  every  time  her  phone  rang  or 
there  was  a  knock  on  her  door.  When  days  passed  and  she 
wasn't  arrested,  she  began  to  feel  somewhat  more  at  ease. 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

As  Joyce  continued  to  clean  out  her  garage,  she  came 
across  something  that  she  knew  she  hadn't  put  there.  It 
was  an  almost-full  box  of  .45-caliber  ammunition. 

Again  through  her  lawyer,  Joyce  Lilly  contacted  the  in- 
vestigators at  the  Snohomish  County  Sheriff's  Office.  She 
was  a  lot  calmer  than  she  was  the  first  time  she  talked  to 
them.  And  she  revealed  more  hidden  things. 

"I  loaned  Teresa  a  small  handgun  in  October — last 
fall,"  she  said.  "She  told  me  that  she  needed  a  gun  because 
she  and  Morgan  lived  alone  in  an  apartment  and  she  had 
no  protection.  Rick  gave  it  to  me  a  few  years  ago  for  the 
same  reason,  taught  me  how  to  use  it,  and  I  fired  it  once  or 
twice — but  I  never  used  it.  It  made  me  nervous  to  have  it 
in  my  house." 

"Do  you  know  what  caliber  it  was?"  Pince  asked. 

"I'm  not  sure  what  a  caliber  is.  It  was  a  small  silver 
gun.  It  seems  as  though  it  might  have  been  a  .25  or  .22, 
something  like  that.  Teresa  took  it  out  in  the  backyard  and 
fired  it  into  the  ground — to  see  if  it  worked. 

"I  haven't  seen  it  since  October.  It  was  after  she  bor- 
rowed it  that  she  told  me  that  she  had  been  in  Chuck's 
house  one  night." 

"Do  you  know  when?"  Pince  asked. 

She  shook  her  head.  "It  would  have  been  a  few  months 
ago — before  Christmas.  Teresa  told  me  she  saw  Chuck 
and  his  girlfriend  in  bed,  so  she  left." 

That  would  jibe  with  what  Michelle  Conley  told  detec- 
tives about  the  November  intruder  that  she'd  followed  in 
her  car.  But  she  had  lost  the  intruder  in  the  dark.  At  the 
time,  she  believed  it  was  Teresa's  car.  However,  Chuck  had 
decided  not  to  report  the  matter  to  police. 


ANN  RULE 

Joyce  said  she  wasn't  sure  where  Teresa  was  at  the  mo- 
ment. She  had  been  avoiding  Teresa. 

Armed  with  the  new  information  from  Joyce  Lilly, 
Michael  Downes,  a  senior  deputy  prosecution  attorney 
for  Snohomish  County,  filed  an  affidavit  of  probable 
cause.  He  asked  for  the  arrest  of  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard 
on  first-degree-murder  charges.  It  was  granted  almost 
immediately. 


On  Sunday  night,  March  2,  ten  days  after  Chuck  Leonard 
died,  Teresa  appeared  at  the  Snohomish  County  Court- 
house in  Everett.  She  did  not,  however,  walk  in  under  her 
own  power  to  be  booked.  She  was  accompanied  by  her 
defense  attorney,  George  Cody,  who  had  driven  her  there, 
but  she  was  passed  out  in  the  backseat  of  his  car,  far  too 
intoxicated — or  possibly  under  the  influence  of  drugs — to 
walk.  Cody  was  very  worried  about  her  condition.  At 
length,  Cody  and  Detectives  Jim  Scharf  and  John  Padilla 
managed  to  rouse  her  and  support  her  as  they  walked  her 
into  the  booking  area.  She  was  arraigned  the  next  day  in 
district  court. 

Cody  told  reporters  that  she  would  plead  not  guilty  to 
the  charges  against  her.  He  explained  that  her  surrender 
"doesn't  mean  she  confessed.  It  means  she  didn't  try  to  run. 
She  has  not  made  any  admission  whatsoever  to  the  police 
in  any  way  of  being  involved  in  Chuck  Leonard's  death." 

The  judge  wasn't  so  sure  that  Teresa  wouldn't  try  to  run 
in  the  day^  ahead,  so  he  set  her  bail  at  $500,000  and  di- 
rected that  it  be  cash  only.  This  would  assure  that  Teresa 
would  remain  behind  bars  for  two  more  weeks.  At  that 

90 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

time,  Michael  Downes  would  have  to  refile  the  case 
against  her  in  Superior  Court. 

Teresa  was  not  without  support.  Her  employees  as- 
serted that  she  was  still  a  nice  little  woman  and  they  didn't 
believe  she  was  capable  of  shooting  anyone.  They  sent 
word  that  they  would  keep  her  shop  open  for  her  and  help 
in  any  way  they  could.  Even  her  new  lawyer  found  her 
vulnerable  and  sweet.  He  felt  sorr>'  for  her.  Like  so  many 
middle-aged  men  before  him,  George  Cody  was  already 
stepping  into  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard's  circle  of  devoted 
admirers. 

Nick  Callas  didn't  really  know  what  was  going  on.  Te- 
resa had  phoned  him  in  Hawaii  and  told  him  that  Chuck 
had  died  suddenly. 

"What  happened?"  Nick  asked  her  at  the  time. 

"They  don't  know,"  she'd  said.  "Some  kind  of  profound 
trauma — " 

Nick  said  later  that  his  mind  had  flashed  to  an  automo- 
bile accident,  and  he'd  pictured  Chuck  Leonard  hitting  a 
tree  or  telephone  pole  while  driving  one  of  his  sports 
cars.  Teresa  hadn't  said  anything  about  a  gun  or  murder — 
nothing  but  "profound  trauma." 

Even  though  he  and  Teresa  had  been  lovers  since  1987, 
years  before  Teresa  met  and  married  Chuck,  Nick  Callas 
knew  very  little  about  her  life.  They  had  made  a  pact  that 
they  wouldn't  talk  about  unhappy  things  or  her  family 
background.  For  Nick,  Teresa  had  always  been  sexy,  fiin,  a 
woman  without  problems. 

Chuck  Leonard  had  his  army  of  supporters,  too.  He 
wasn't  a  man  to  talk  about  his  problems  either — except  to 
very  close  friends.  Fie  was  witty  and  funny  and  kind.  Ev- 

91 


ANN  RULE 

eryone  had  liked  Chuck — with  the  possible  exception  of 
Teresa  and  the  friends  she  had  told  about  his  "brutality" 
toward  her. 

Somehow,  Teresa  had  managed  to  keep  her  juggling  act 
of  a  life  together  for  years.  Of  all  people,  the  archaic  mys- 
tery writer's  term  "a  tissue  of  lies"  fit  Teresa.  She'd  kept 
her  wealthy  lover,  married  Chuck,  given  birth  to  Morgan, 
and  managed  to  convince  any  number  of  people  that 
Chuck  was  abusive  toward  her.  Those  who  knew  him 
couldn't  believe  it — any  more  than  Teresa's  allies  could 
believe  that  she  would  shoot  a  man  to  death  as  he  slept. 

News  stories  proliferated  each  day  with  more  and 
more  shocking  details  about  the  Leonards'  marriage,  and 
his  fatal  shooting.  The  Snohomish  County  Prosecutor's 
Office  said  that  they  believed  Teresa  had  taken  a  bead  on 
her  estranged  husband  as  he  lay  sound  asleep,  and  started 
firing.  "He  was  hit  in  the  arm  and  twice  more  in  the 
chest,"  Michael  Downes  told  District  Judge  Thomas  Kelly. 
"One  of  those  .45 -caliber  bullets  penetrated  his  chest — 
and  that  was  the  wound  that  killed  him." 

On  autopsy.  Dr.  Selove  had  found  that  Chuck  had  died 
of  exsanguination:  he  had  bleed  to  death  after  being  shot. 

The  public  had  no  idea  what  motive  Teresa  might  have 
had  to  kill  her  husband.  The  affidavit  for  probable  cause 
remained  sealed. 

There  were  still  many  secrets  about  Teresa.  She  told  peo- 
ple that  she  was  thirty-three  and  that  was  what  her  driver's 
license  said,  but  her  divorce  papers  listed  her  as  thirty-seven. 

Her  attorney,  George  Cody,  sat  beside  Teresa  in  an 
attorney-client  room  in  the  Snohomish  County  Jail  and 
communicated  with  the  court  through  a  closed-circuit 

92 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

video  hookup  as  he  asked  for  a  reduction  in  her  bail. 
Teresa  said  nothing. 

Cody  asked  that  her  bail  be  lowered  to  $100,000,  since 
she  had  willingly  talked  to  detectives  at  least  four  times 
before  she  surrendered  just  before  midnight  on  the  previ- 
ous Sunday.  "If  she  was  going  to  flee,"  he  pointed  out, 
"'she  already  would  have  done  so." 

Downes  argued  against  a  bail  reduction.  The  prisoner 
had,  after  all,  proven  herself  a  community  threat  when  she 
shot  Chuck  Leonard,  and  had  no  particular  ties  to  the  com- 
munity: her  family  was  in  Louisiana  and  her  wealthy  boy- 
friend was  in  Hawaii. 

Judge  Thomas  Kelly  took  both  sides  into  consideration 
and  lowered  Teresa's  bail  to  $200,000. 

Close  to  a  dozen  of  Chuck  Leonard's  relatives  and 
friends  observed  these  arguments  about  bail.  Two  of  them 
were  attractive  women  who  identified  themselves  as  his 
former  girlfriends.  Even  though  they  had  long  since  ended 
romantic  attachments  to  him,  they  had  remained  platonic 
friends.  The  group  watched  and  listened  and  dabbed  at  the 
tears  that  often  filled  their  QyQS.  What  did  money  matter 
now  that  Chuck  was  gone? 

But  it  did.  Enough  cash  could  get  Teresa  out  of  jail.  The 
Snohomish  County  detectives  were  extremely  uneasy 
about  that  possibility,  fearing  that  she  would  "rabbit"  on 
them  and  disappear. 

When  she  was  charged  with  first-degree  murder  in  Sno- 
homish County  Superior  Court  a  week  later,  her  bail  was 
once  more  raised  to  $500,000. 

Deputy  Prosecutor  Downes  had  little  difficulty  con- 
vincing Judge  Kathryn  Trumbull  that  Teresa,  for  all  her 

93 


ANN  RULE 

demure  appearance,  was  a  danger  to  the  community,  and  a 
flight  risk  with  access  to  money,  and  that  she  might  well 
take  six-year-old  Morgan  and  disappear. 

Someone  was  already  inquiring  about  how  to  wire 
money  to  bail  her  out,  someone  who  didn't  seem  at  all 
abashed  that  it  would  take  almost  $200,000  to  gain  her 
release.  The  man,  who  called  the  sheriff's  office  from 
Hawaii,  asked  to  have  his  name  kept  private. 

It  was,  of  course,  Teresa's  wealthy  lover,  Nick  Callas. 
He  said  he  was  prepared  to  wire  the  money.  Callas  didn't 
want  to  leave  Hawaii,  and  he  only  grudgingly  agreed  to 
meet  with  Michael  Downes,  Brad  Pince,  and  John  Padilla 
if  they  flew  to  Maui  to  talk  to  him. 

Michael  Downes  was  not  only  concerned  that  Teresa 
might  leave  Washington  State,  but  he  feh  that  Joyce  Lilly's 
life  might  be  in  danger.  If  Joyce  hadn't  gone  to  the  sheriff, 
Teresa  might  well  have  walked  away  scot-free:  no  jail,  no 
bail,  no  trial.  And  Downes  feared  that  Joyce — who  was 
probably  going  to  be  the  State's  prime  witness  against  her 
former  friend — might  seem  expendable  to  Teresa.  In  the 
prosecutor's  view,  Chuck  Leonard  had  gotten  in  the  way  of 
Teresa's  plans  to  move  to  Hawaii — and  he  was  dead.  Joyce 
was  now  a  serious  impediment  to  the  defendant's  freedom 
and  the  life  she  visualized.  Although  detectives  in  the 
sheriff's  office  were  keeping  an  eye  on  Joyce,  they  couldn't 
be  with  her  all  the  time. 

Now  the  evidence  against  Teresa  was  being  slowly  un- 
veiled. Although  her  name  was  not  given  to  reporters, 
Joyce  Lilly  had  received  immunity  from  prosecution  in 
exchange  for  her  cooperation  with  sheriff's  investigators. 


94 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

The  v/hite  plastic  bag  that  Joyce  gave  to  Brad  Pince 
contained  a  dark  brown  polar-fleece  jacket  with  some  sort 
of  emblem  on  the  shoulder,  a  pair  of  sweatpants,  light 
brown  leather  boots  with  a  large  bloodstain  on  one  toe, 
bullets,  and  a  magazine  for  a  .4 5 -caliber  handgun.  The 
gun  itself  was  at  the  bottom  of  the  bag.  It  was  securely 
locked  in  the  evidence  room  at  the  sheriff's  office,  each 
item  bagged,  sealed,  dated,  and  signed  by  the  investigator 
who  had  entered  it  into  the  chain  of  evidence. 

George  Cody  objected  to  this  alleged  evidence  being 
admitted  into  any  forthcoming  trial,  saying,  "1  can't  com- 
ment on  it. because  I  haven't  seen  it.  I  know  what  they  say 
they've  got,  but  I  don't  know  what  they  have." 

Cody  pointed  out  that  Teresa  had  no  criminal  record  or 
history  of  making  threats.  And  as  far  as  anything  the  in- 
vestigation had  turned  up  so  far,  that  was  tme.  He  de- 
scribed her  as  a  dedicated  mother  who  would  never  leave 
her  daughter.  Nor  would  she  close  down  her  businesis.  She 
needed  that  income  to  survive. 

Everything  in  the  white  bag  was  going  to  the  Washing- 
ton State  crime  lab  to  be  tested  for  fingerprints,  hair, 
DNA,  and  rug  and  fabric  fibers  that  might  link  to  Teresa  or 
to  someone  else. 

The  sheriff's  investigators  had  searched  Teresa's  home, 
her  consigrmient  shop,  and  her  car,  looking  for  receipts 
that  might  show  what  she  had  purchased  or  where  she  had 
been  in  the  days  before  Chuck's  fatal  shooting.  She  obvi- 
ously hadn't  had  the  .45  back  in  October  1996,  when  she 
borrowed  Joyce's  handgun,  but  she  had  one  on  the  night 
Chuck  died. 


95 


ANN  RULE 

Joyce  didn't  think  Teresa  had  returned  her  small  hand- 
gun. Sometime  after  Chuck's  murder  and  Joyce's  accusa- 
tions about  Teresa,  Joyce  found  a  backpack  in  her  garage 
when  she  was  packing  to  move.  At  the  time  she  didn't  look 
inside  it,  assuming  it  belonged  to  her  twenty-one-year-old 
son.  But  in  April  1997,  she  did  look.  There  she  found  her 
.25-caliber  gun,  wrapped  in  a  woman's  handkerchief, 
along  with  a  small  box  of  ammunition.  She  had  no  idea 
how  it  got  there.  Apparently  Teresa  had  put  it  m  her  garage 
sometime  over  the  past  five  months. 

The  Snohomish  County  detectives  didn't  find  a  receipt 
for  the  .45,  but  they  did  find  a  letter  from  a  realtor  on 
Maui,  thanking  her  for  her  interest  in  buying  property 
there.  Oddly,  they  found  a  credit  card  in  the  name  of 
Chuck's  mother,  Ann,  who  had  been  dead  for  almost  five 
years.  The  card  had  been  issued  after  her  death,  and  the 
address  was  for  Teresa's  consignment  shop — ^where  Ann 
Leonard  had  never  lived. 

George  Cody  said  he  didn't  find  that  strange.  "It  was  a 
cash  card  that  had  to  be  tied  to  a  bank  account."  He  told 
the  judge  that  Chuck  Leonard  had  often  had  mail  sent  to 
his  wife's  shop  when  they  were  together  and  that  the  vic- 
tim had  maintained  his  bank  account  jointly  with  his 
mother  long  after  she  was  deceased. 

But  what  was  Teresa  doing  with  it? 

One  person  that  Pince,  Scharf,  and  Downes  wanted  to 
talk  to  was  Nick  Callas.  Initially,  he  declined  to  speak  with 
them,  saying  through  his  attorney  that  there  was  no  advan- 
tage to  him  to  become  involved.  But  the  Washington  State 
lawmen  were  not  going  to  back  oflf  so  easily.  Michael 
Downes  threatened  to  legally  summon  Callas  from  Hawaii 

96 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

to  Everett  at  county  expense,  where  he  would  be  expected 
to  give  a  deposition  on  what  he  knew  about  Teresa,  her  re- 
lationship with  her  estranged  husband — and  with  him — 
and  the  murder  of  Chuck  Leonard.  Superior  Court  Judge 
Anita  Farris  agreed  with  Downes's  motion  for  a  subpoena. 

Would  Callas  come?  Or  would  he  change  his  mind 
about  answering  questions  in  Hawaii  and  decide  that  that 
would  be  a  lot  easier  than  a  six-hour  flight  to  the  North- 
west? Actually,  Judge  Farris  had  no  jurisdiction  in  Hawaii, 
but  the  investigators  believed  that  the  rich  condo  owner 
might  decide  that  being  an  "uncooperative  witness"  was 
not  in  his  best  interest  after  all.  Downes,  Pince,  and  Pa- 
dilla  were  still  willing  to  fly  to  Hawaii  to  talk  with  Teresa's 
purported  lover  there. 

Teresa  had  not  appeared  as  yet  in  court  in  person,  her 
participation  having  been  accomplished  through  closed- 
circuit  television.  Finally  Teresa  showed  up  in  the  court- 
room for  the  first  time  in  a  pretrial  hearing.  There  was  a 
murmur  in  the  courtroom  as  she  was  led  to  her  chair  at  the 
defense  table.  She  was  a  pretty  woman,  more  slender  than 
ever  after  weeks  of  jail  cuisine,  and  so  pale  and  breakable- 
looking.  There  were  unshed  tears  in  her  eyes.  The  body 
language  and  facial  expressions  on  court  watchers  sig- 
naled what  they  were  thinking:  How  could  this  sweet- 
looking  woman  kill  a  man  in  cold  blood? 

Most  laymen  have  preset  notions  of  how  a  murderer  is 
(supposed  to  look  and  act.  Some  of  them  are  true.  Mass 
i murderers  and  serial  killers  are  almost  always  male,  but 
they  don't  necessarily  look  like  monsters:  many  are  very 
attractive.  A  serial  killer  is  addicted  to  murder.  Mass  mur- 
derers, of  whom  we  have  seen  far  too  many  recently,  tend 

97 


ANN  RULE 

to  carry  rage  within  them,  blaming  others  for  a  job  loss,  a 
broken  marriage,  or  their  inadequacy.  They  are  often  in- 
sane and  suicidal. 

But  women  defendants  are  usually  less  predictable. 
Their  motivation  revolves  around  love  in  its  broadest  defi- 
nition (to  include  jealousy,  revenge,  sexual  attraction)  and 
money.  Where  poison  was  once  their  weapon  of  choice,  in  • 
the  twenty-first  century  more  female  killers  use  a  gun. 
They  kill  people  who  are  close  to  them,  relatives,  spouses, 
lovers,  and  friends  who  trust  them.  However,  women  :5 
whose  photos  were  featured  in  fact-detective  pulp  maga-  I 
zines  from  the  1920s  to  the  1960s  tended  to  be  plump  and  3 
matronly,  passing  their  time  in  jail  knitting  or  reading  their 
Bibles,  or  "hussies"  who  looked  like  gun  molls  with  dyed 
hair,  too  much  makeup,  and  scanty  attire. 

But  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  looked  more  like  a  pretty 
kindergarten  teacher  or  someone  serving  fruit  punch  at  a 
church  function. 

That  look  had  stood  her  in  good  stead  since  puberty. 
When  she  cried  or  trembled  from  the  emotion  of  it  all,  she- 
was  even  more  pitiable.  And  Michael  Downes  worried  that 
a  jury  might  view  her  that  way.  1 

There  was  no  question  at  this  point  that  Morgan  could  % 
live  with  her  mother — Teresa's  emotions  were  too  unsta- 
ble. Under  an  agreement  drawn  up  by  the  Washington 
State  Child  Protective  Services,  Teresa  was  allowed  to 
phone  Morgan  twice  a  week  for  a  fifteen-minute  moni- 
tored call.  However,  Judge  Farris  was  concerned  that| 
Morgan  hadn't  seen  a  counselor  yet,  apparently  because 
Teresa  hadn  t  signed  the  required  papei-work.  A  guardian  j 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

was  appointed  for  Morgan  who  would  arrange  for  her  to 
have  sessions  with  a  child  psychologist. 

On  March  12, 1997,  Morgan  was  slated  to  talk  with  P.  J. 
Summers,  a  child  interview  specialist  with  the  Crimes 
Against  Children  Unit  of  the  Snohomish  County  Sheriff's 
Office.  Since  her  mother's  arrest,  she'd  been  staying  with 
Chuck's  father  and  stepmother,  Fred  and  Caroline,  at  their 
home  in  Concrete,  Washington,  and  her  small  world  was 
in  total  upheaval. 

Caroline  Leonard  brought  her  into  the  sheriff's  office. 

Morgan  wanted  to  know  where  her  mother  was,  and 
why  she  couldn't  see  her. 

"She's  in  a  safe  place,"  Pince  explained,  "but  you  can't 
see  her  right  now." 

"I  need  to  ask  about  my  daddy,"  she  pressed. 

Pince  said  he  would  talk  to  her  about  that  later.  Morgan 
was  willing  to  talk  to  P. J.,  whom  Pince  introduced  as  a 
friend  of  his,  but  she  made  him  promise  to  answer  some 
questions  for  her  when  she  was  finished. 

Morgan  told  P.  J.  Summers  that  her  mother  was  going 
to  get  married  in  Hawaii  and  she  and  her  mom  were  going 
to  move  there.  "I'm  going  to  be  a  flower  girl  at  the  wed- 
ding," she  said. 

She  was  clinging  to  the  happy-ever-after  ending  that  her 
mother  had  promised  her.  She  said  she  knew  her  daddy  was 
dead,  but  she  didn't  really  understand  what  had  happened. 

Pince  kept  his  word  and,  after  Morgan's  interview  with 
P. J.,  he  did  his  best  to  explain  what  had  happened  to  her 
father.  He  told  her  that  Chuck  had  been  shot.  She  didn't 
ask  who  had  done  that.  They  talked  a  little  bit  about  how 


ANN  RULE 

anyone  could  have  gotten  into  his  house.  Morgan  said  she 
knew  that  he  had  some  guns  around  the  house,  but  they 
were  kept  up  high  or  locked  up  and  she  was  not  allowed  to 
touch  them.  She  didn't  think  her  mother  had  any  guns  at 
all  in  her  house. 

Pince  was  very  gentle  with  her.  Morgan  was  confused 
about  what  could  have  happened.  She  wanted  things  back 
the  way  they  were  before. 

If  only ... 


The  Snohomish  County  investigators  talked  to  dozens  of 
people  as  they  reconstructed  the  last  day  of  Chuck  Leo- 
nard's life.  He  had,  indeed,  had  drinks  and  dinner  with 
friends  at  Buck's  American  Cafe  in  Everett  on  Wednesday 
night,  and  he'd  been  trying  to  find  someone  to  go  to 
Karrah's  Club,  a  nearby  casino,  with  him.  But  he  had  no 
luck.  Les  Staunton  was  tired  after  arriving  home  from  his 
South  American  trip.  Michelle  wished  him  good  luck,  but 
she  was  turning  in  early.  She  asked  him  to  call  her  when 
he  left  the  casino  or  when  he  got  home. 

The  "skinny  blonde"  he'd  talked  about  taking  to  gamble 
with  him  was  a  former  waitress  at  Buck's.  She'd  eaten 
with  Chuck  and  his  friends,  but  hadn't  wanted  to  go  to 
Harrah's  so  late  on  a  weeknight  either. 

A  cocktail  waitress  at  Harrah's  confirmed  that  Chuck 
had  been  in  the  gambling  casino  that  night.  She  said  he 
was  usually  loud  and  raucous  after  a  few  drinks,  and  it 
would  be  difficult  to  forget  him — although  he  was  also  a 
nice  guy  who  had  a  great  sense  of  humor.  However,  on  this 
last  night,  he'd  seemed  "down"  or  "depressed." 

100 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Chuck  had  arrived  late — after  eleven.  He  wasn't  in  her 
section,  so  she  had  no  idea  how  many  drinks  he  had.  "By 
the  time  I  saw  him,  he  was  drinking  bottled  water,"  she 
said.  "After  two  a.m.,  the  drinks  are  cut  off." 

Chuck  Leonard  had  left  Harrah's  quietly  and  probably 
driven  straight  home;  it  wasn't  more  than  a  half  hour's 
drive. 


They  were  now  eight  days  away  fi'om  Teresa's  April  trial 
date  for  the  murder  of  Chuck  Leonard. 

But  like  most  high-profile  trials,  Teresa's  was  delayed. 
Rather  than  beginning  in  April,  it  was  rescheduled  for  July 
1997.  And  then,  quite  suddenly,  on  April  25,  after  eight 
weeks  in  jail,  Teresa  was  released.  Her  half-million-dollar 
cash  bail  had  been  paid.  Her  attorney,  George  Cody,  said  a 
group  of  her  friends  had  raised  the  money  because  they  were 
worried  that  Teresa  wouldn't  be  able  to  choose  who  would 
have  custody  of  Morgan  if  she  had  to  do  it  from  a  jail  cell. 

But  Teresa's  fi-iends  and  relatives  weren't  anywhere 
near  that  rich.  In  truth,  the  bail  money  came  almost  en- 
tirely from  one  very  close  friend:  Nick  Callas.  He  may  not 
have  chosen  to  divorce  his  wife  and  marry  Teresa,  but  he 
seemed  to  care  deeply  for  her. 

George  Cody,  too,  was  very  taken  with  Teresa.  He 
doted  on  her,  and  some  observers  wondered  if  his  feelings 
for  her  were  more  than  those  of  an  attorney  for  his  client. 
Just  before  Teresa  walked  free  from  her  jail  cell.  Detective 
John  Padilla  asked  Teresa's  new  lawyer,  John  Henry 
Browne,  to  be  present  while  he  photographed  Teresa  in  the 
clothing  she'd  worn  the  night  Chuck  died. 

101 


ANN  RULE 

With  a  female  detective  present,  too,  Padilla  began  by 
taking  several  photographs  of  the  suspect  as  she  looked  in 
her  normal  clothing. 

She  was  annoyed,  and  said  sarcastically,  "Of  course  you 
had  to  do  this  before  my  cosmetic  surgery." 

He  wasn't  sure  if  she  was  kidding  or  not.  Next,  he  took 
pictures  of  Teresa  wearing  the  sweatpants,  dark  brown 
fleece  jacket,  and  bloodied  boots.  He  noted  that  she  never 
looked  at  him  or  the  clothes;  instead  she  gazed  with  empty 
eyes  at  the  door  to  the  room  they  were  in.  She  didn't  seem 
particularly  upset.  Rather,  she  seemed  removed,  as  though 
she  had  stepped  out  of  her  body,  blocking  any  angst  she 
might  feel  at  seeing  the  stained  items  again. 

George  Cody  had  found  an  apartment  for  Teresa  and 
paid  the  rent.  There  was  no  possibility  that  she  could  have 
Morgan  live  with  her.  Chuck's  family  v/ouldn't  hear  of  it, 
and  the  court  felt  Teresa  wasn't  currently  stable  enough  to 
have  her  back.  But  there  was  more.  If  Morgan  lived  with 
Teresa,  what  would  stop  the  accused  murderess  from  dis- 
guising herself  and  her  daughter  and  vanishing?  Who 
would  prevent  Teresa  from  convincing  Morgan  of  just 
about  anything  she  wanted  her  to  believe? 

Morgan  had  told  her  grandparents  and  her  Aunt  Theresa 
that  she  was  going  to  have  a  "new  daddy"  when  her  mother 
got  married.  Fred,  Caroline,  and  Theresa  were  alarmed. 

"And  I'm  going  to  have  flowers  in  my  hair  at  the  wed- 
ding," Morgan  burbled.  "My  mommy  said  so  and  she 
doesn't  lie." 

Although  the  case  appeared  to  be  growing  tighter 
around  Teresa,  there  were  gaps  in  it,  and  there  were  still 
many  people  who  absolutely  refused  to  think  of  her  as  a 

102 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

killer.  The  men  who  loved  her  and  the  women  she'd  cho- 
sen to  be  her  confidantes  still  could  not  equate  the  bubbly, 
caring  Teresa  with  their  image  of  a  murderess. 

Detective  John  Padilla  took  advantage  of  the  trial  delay 
to  see  if  he  could  find  out  who  Teresa  really  was.  He 
called  Lieutenant  Steve  Buras  of  the  Homicide  Division 
of  the  Jefferson  Parish  Sheriff's  Office  in  Louisiana  and 
asked  him  if  he  would  search  his  records  there  for  any 
information  on  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard.  Padilla  gave  the 
Louisiana  lawmen  every  possible  combination  he  could 
come  up  with  about  Teresa:  her  birthdate,  Social  Security 
number,  her  names,  parents'  names,  even  her  father's  date 
of  birth. 

Buras  called  Padilla  a  few  hours  later  and  said  he 
couldn't  find  any  information  on  Teresa,  but  he  was  going 
to  check  with  the  Social  Security  office  in  his  jurisdiction 
and  see  if  they  might  have  something  on  her  activities. 

Next,  Padilla  found  the  phone  number  for  Gary  Gaethe, 
Teresa's  ex-husband.  He  called  him  in  early  summer, 
1997.  Gaethe  was  most  forthcoming  with  what  he  knew 
about  her. 

According  to  Gaethe,  Teresa  had  lived  most  of  her  life 
in  Pensacola,  Florida,  and  she  attended  high  school  there 
until  her  parents  moved  to  Metairie,  Louisiana.  He  knew 
her  mother's  name  was  Gloria,  and  that  she  had  two  sis- 
ters, but  he'd  forgotten  their  names. 

"After  we  divorced,"  he  said  cryptically,  "I  got  rid  of 
everything  that  reminded  me  of  Teresa." 

Gaethe 's  romance  with  Teresa  began  much  like  her  in- 
volvement with  Chuck  Leonard.  He  had  been  in  a  depart- 
ment store,  buying  a  present  for  his  mother.  They  struck 

103 


ANN  RULE 

up  a  conversation.  He  got  the  impression  that  she  was  in 
her  twenties. 

"I  found  out  later  that  she  was  only  a  teenager,"  he  said. 
"We  dated  for  about  three  years  before  we  got  married. 
She  was  a  fun  and  exciting  person  to  be  with." 

Gary  Gaethe  made  good  money.  He  owned  a  sailboat,  a 
plush  condominium,  and  expensive  cars.  They  took  trips 
together  and  reveled  in  an  outdoor  life. 

When  they  got  married,  Gary  had  a  BMW  and  he 
bought  Teresa  a  Lotus.  He  moved  his  sailboat  to  Pensa- 
cola,  and  they  lived  together  aboard  her  for  a  few  months. 
"We  had  a  lot  of  fun,"  he  recalled. 

But  it  didn't  last.  Gaethe  said  there  were  cracks  in  their 
relationship  almost  from  the  day  they  got  married.  He 
worked  four  days  a  week  in  New  Orleans,  while  Teresa  in- 
sisted upon  living  on  their  boat.  He  would  have  much  pre- 
ferred that  they  live  in  his  condo  in  New  Orleans  and 
spend  their  weekends  and  vacations  on  his  sailboat. 

"She  became  very  cold  to  me,"  he  recalled  to  Padilla. 
"She  wanted  her  own  apartment.  And  for  the  first  two 
months  of  our  marriage,  she  isolated  me  from  my  family." 

Thinking  back  on  what  might  have  caused  Teresa  to  be 
frosty  toward  him,  Gaethe  said  he  believed  it  started  when 
he  suggested  they  slow  down  their  spending  a  little.  "I  told 
her  I  didn't  want  to  have  the  financial  pressure  of  all  the 
bills  for  things  we  really  didn't  need." 

That  was  all  it  took.  His  bride  set  her  jaw  and  turned 
away  from  him.  She  had  enjoyed  their  life  as  long  as  there  I 
were  no  restrictions  on  her  spending  habits.  Shortly  there- 
after, they  separated  and  lived  apart  for  seven  months  until 
their  divorce  became  final. 

104 


1\ 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Gary  had  loved  Teresa  and  he  took  the  divorce  hard. 
Even  so,  he  wanted  to  be  sure  she  was  okay.  He  got  her  an 
apartment,  gave  her  money  to  live,  and  bought  her  another 
car  and  new  furniture.  He  was  instrumental  in  getting  her 
the  concierge  job  at  the  Sheraton  Hotel. 

And  then  she  walked  out  of  his  life  without  a  backward 
glance. 

"I  didn't  see  her  again  for  about  ten  years,"  Gaethe  told 
Padilla.  "Not  until  she  called  me  out  of  the  blue  four 
months  ago.  It  was  like  nothing  had  ever  happened  be- 
tween us.  She  told  me  she  had  a  beautiful  daughter  and 
that  she  was  no  longer  married.  She  said  she  owned  a 
fancy  boutique,  and  that  she  was  coming  to  New  Orleans 
to  see  her  mother.  She  asked  if  she  and  her  little  girl  could 
stay  with  me  for  a  while  when  they  came  down." 

Gary  Gaethe  was  unaware  that  Gloria  Jones  had  been 
dead  for  almost  seven  years  at  that  point.  Or  that  Teresa 
was  soon  to  go  on  trial  for  murdering  the  husband  who 
came  after  him.  Even  so,  he  demurred  about  having  her 
stay  with  him.  He  had  long  since  moved  on,  and  didn't 
want  to  open  old  wounds. 

Teresa  stayed  in  Washington.  Teresa  had  been  very  ex- 
citing and  fiin.  "But  when  it  came  to  reality,  she  was  as 
cold  as  ice.  She  was  an  accomplished  liar — I  learned  that. 
You  know,  I  think  she  even  believed  her  own  lies." 

"Was  Teresa  capable  of  handling  a  gun?"  Padilla  asked. 

"She  sure  was.  I  had  a  house  in  the  woods,  and  Teresa 
and  I  used  to  go  out  there  for  target  practice.  We  shot  all 
kinds  of  guns,  but  primarily  a  .44  magnum." 

Padilla  contacted  the  Registry  of  Vital  Statistics  in  New 
Orleans  next,  and  he  came  up  with  three  names  Teresa  had 

105 


ANN  RULE 

used  before  she  became  Teresa  Leonard:  Teresa  E.  Jones, 
Teresa  E.  Goldstein,  and  Teresa  E.  Gaethe.  He  wondered 
how  many  others  there  were. 


Teresa's  trial  was  postponed  yet  again,  to  October  1997. 
She  had  her  new  attorney,  one  of  the  most  effective  crimi- 
nal defense  lawyers  in  the  Seattle  area.  His  name  was  John 
Henry  Browne,  the  same  John  Henry  Browne  who  had 
once  advised  Ted  Bundy  on  his  legal  options  more  than 
twenty  years  earlier,  and  who  had  defended  many  of  the 
most  high-profile  accused  killers  in  the  Northwest. 
Browne  was  a  flamboyant  and  passionate  advocate  for  his 
clients,  and  a  successful  one,  too.  He  would  probably  be 
among  the  three  top  choices  in  the  state  for  someone  fac- 
ing serious  criminal  charges.  How  Teresa  could  afford 
Browne  was  a  question;  perhaps  Nick  Callas  had  stepped 
in  once  more  to  rescue  her  from  a  long  prison  sentence. 

Nick  had  always  promised  he  would  stand  behind  her. 
Indeed,  Nick  contacted  many  of  Teresa's  women  friends 
and  asked  them  to  support  her  emotionally;  he  was  very 
worried  about  her. 

In  late  summer,  Teresa  was  in  the  headlines  again.  John 
Henry  Browne  told  reporters  that  she  had  barely  survived 
an  overdose  of  prescription  drugs.  He  stressed  that  she  had 
not  attempted  suicide — the  overdose  was  accidental.  She 
had  been  taken  to  Stevens  Memorial  Hospital  in  Edmonds, 
Washington,  on  August  28  in  a  comatose  state  from  a 
combination  of  antidepressant  and  sleeping  pills. 

"She  almost  died,"  Browne  had  said  the  day  after  she 


106 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

was  hospitalized,  adding  that  physicians  were  preparing  to 
do  "brain-death  studies"  to  determine  if  her  memory  loss 
was  temporary  or  permanent. 

Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  was  less  sympathetic,  as- 
serting that  she  had  deliberately  attempted  suicide.  He 
asked  Judge  Ronald  Castleberry  to  raise  her  bail  to 
$5  million  to  assure  that  she  would  remain  in  jail  until  her 
trial.  The  judge  perused  a  doctor's  report  on  her  condition, 
and  deduced  that  neither  the  State  nor  the  Defense  was 
completely  accurate.  He  didn't  believe  that  her  condition 
after  overdosing  was  critical  or  that  she  was  comatose,  but 
he  did  think  it  had  all  been  an  accident. 

Castleberry  denied  a  raise  in  Teresa's  bail  to  the  almost 
unheard-of  amount,  but  he  stipulated  that  she  avoid  alcohol 
and  continue  all  treatment — ^psychological  and  medical — 
and  that  every  doctor  who  might  prescribe  medication  for 
her  be  aware  of  what  she  was  getting  from  the  others. 

Chuck  Leonard  had  been  dead  for  six  months,  and  the 
path  toward  trial  seemed  to  be  getting  slower  and  slower. 
Brad  Pince  and  D.A.  Michael  Downes  kept  working,  gath- 
ering more  evidence.  They  continued  to  find  rumors,  anec- 
dotes, and  accusations  about  Teresa;  she  had  convinced  any 
number  of  people — both  men  and  women — that  they  were 
essential  to  her  well-being,  that  she  cared  a  great  deal  for 
them  and  was  grateful  for  all  the  help  they  gave  her. 

Her  first  attorney,  George  Cody,  was  at  the  forefront  of 
her  defenders.  Although  he  was  no  longer  representing  her 
in  the  murder  case,  he  was  overseeing  her  civil  affairs.  He 
had  found  a  new  apartment  for  her  and  paid  all  the  ex- 
penses there  through  his  law  firm.  He  was  probably  infatu- 


107 


ANN  RULE 

ated  with  Teresa.  When  she  mentioned  how  much  she 
wanted  to  have  some  plastic  surgery,  he  couldn't  see  why 
she  would  need  it — ^but  he  didn't  try  to  talk  her  out  of  it. 

Nick  Callas  was  still  sending  her  money,  although  not 
as  much  after  he'd  put  up  $500,000  bail  money  for  her. 
Her  loyal  employees  at  The  Consignment  Shop  were  keep- 
ing it  open,  knowing  she  needed  that  income.  Although 
Joyce  Lilly  had  kept  her  distance  since  she  turned  in  evi- 
dence and  information  that  led  to  Teresa's  arrest,  Teresa 
had  several  other  female  friends  who  stood  by  her. 

One  friend,  Carol  Fabray,*  had  given  birth  to  a  new  son 
in  1997,  and  she  was  touched  when  Teresa  was  so  inter- 
ested and  concerned  for  her,  despite  her  own  problems. 
Although  they  made  many  appointments  to  meet  so  Teresa 
could  give  the  new  baby  a  present,  it  wasn't  until  late  fall 
that  Teresa  showed  up  at  Carol's  home. 


108 


Chapter  Six 


It  was  close  to  9:00  a.m.  on  November  13,  1997,  when 
Brad  Pince  walked  by  Sergeant  Al  Zurlo's  desk  in  the  ho- 
micide unit.  Zurlo  was  on  the  phone  and  obviously  trying 
to  calm  down  whoever  was  on  the  other  end  of  the  line.  He 
had  written  a  name  on  a  pad  in  front  of  him:  Grace  Callas. 
■  Pince  knew  that  surname,  and  he  heard  Zurlo  say,  "I'll 
transfer  you  to  Detective  Pince 's  extension — " 

But  the  woman's  voice  came  tlirough  the  receiver  so 
loudly  that  Pince  could  hear  her.  He  raised  his  eyebrows 
questioningly,  and  Zurlo  covered  the  mouthpiece  and 
whispered  quickly,  "She  says  her  name  is  Grace  Callas, 
and  she's  hysterical.  She  wants  information  about  her 
husband's  involvement  in  one  of  our  homicide  investiga- 
tions." 

Pince  picked  up  the  phone  and  identified  himself  Zurlo 
was  right;  the  woman  was  sobbing  and  screaming  into  the 
phone.  It  was  difficult  to  make  sense  of  what  she  was  say- 
ing, but  he  finally  deduced  that  she  was  Nick  Callas 's 
wife,  and,  of  course,  Nick  was  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard's 
lover. 

"Ma'am,  ma'am,"  Pince  said,  "I  think  I  know  who  you 

109 


ANN  RULE 

are.  How  can  I  help  you?  If  you  can  calm  down  a  little, 
maybe  I  can  answer  any  questions  you  have." 

"Two  days  ago — on  November  1 1 — I  found  some  ro- 
mantic cards  in  my  husband's  business  papers,"  she  said, 
still  crying.  "They  were  from  someone  named  Teresa 
Leonard.  When  I  asked  him  about  where  the  cards  came 
from,  he  told  me  that  this  . . .  this  Teresa  person  is  involved 
in  a  murder  in  your  jurisdiction.  He  says  he's  been  dragged 
into  the  middle  of  it." 

Not  surprisingly  Grace  Callas  wanted  to  know  more 
about  Teresa  and  what  her  husband  had  to  do  with  her. 

She  had  done  some  detective  work  of  her  own  before 
she  called  the  sheriff's  office.  When  Nick  left  on  Novem- 
ber 12,  she  began  searching  through  their  computer  files. 
She  found  two  listings  for  "Teresa."  One  was  for  someone 
associated  with  Orca  Travel  in  Marysville,  Washington. 
When  she  called  the  number  given,  she  reached  a  consign- 
ment shop  instead.  The  woman  who  answered  said  she 
was  in  the  process  of  buying  the  store  from  Teresa  Gaethe- 
Leonard. 

Grace  Callas  had  asked  her  husband  who  this  was.  He 
was  angry  and  said,  "You  don't  know  what  you're  getting 
into.  You  have  to  stop  your  little  detective  work.  Stop  dig- 
ging and  stop  asking  questions." 

But  that  just  spurred  her  on  more.  She  noted  the  area 
code  for  Marysville  and  called  every  law  enforcement 
agency  in  that  region,  finally  ending  up  with  the  Snohom- 
ish County  Sheriff's  Office. 

Brad  Pince  explained  carefully  that  Nick  Callas  had 
been  interviewed  as  a  "possible  witness"  in  a  homicide 
case  involving  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard. 

110 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"Why?"  she.  asked.  "Why  on  earth? — " 

Pince  drew  a  deep  breath.  "I  should  explain  to  you  that 
your  husband  has  been  paying  Teresa  Leonard's  legal  ex- 
penses, and  he's  posted  $500,000  cash  to  bail  her  out  of 
jail." 

"What?"  Grace  Cailas  gasped,  much  more  upset  now 
than  when  she  had  originally  called  the  sheriff's  office. 

"She  was  barely  able  to  continue  the  conversation," 
Pince  commented  later.  "And  she  kept  asking  me  what  she 
needed  to  do." 

Grace  sobbed  as  she  told  Pince  that  her  husband  was 
spending  all  their  money,  that  she  herself  had  no  indepen- 
dent resources,  and  now  he  was  leaving  her  and  their  son 
"high  and  dry"  without  any  money  to  pay  their  bills. 

All  Pince  could  do  was  suggest  that  she  obtain  legal 
help  to  protect  her  personal  finances. 

From  her  comments,  Pince  deduced  that  things  were 
not  as  rosy  in  the  Cailas  marriage  as  Nick  had  descnbed. 
Grace  said  she  no  longer  lived  in  Hawaii.  "I  had  to  move 
because  of  my  medical  condition.  The  local  doctors  in  Ha- 
waii ran  out  of  ways  to  treat  me,  so  I  had  to  move  to  Cali- 
fornia with  my  son  Jack,  and  I'm  staying  with  my  sister 
while  I  undergo  treatment.  Nick  still  lives  in  Hawaii,  but 
he  comes  to  California  to  visit  us  " 

Grace  Cailas  had  not  been  aware  how  important 
Teresa  was  to  him.  Until  she  found  the  cards,  she  had 
never  even  heard  of  Teresa.  Now  she  said  she  was  going 
to  contact  her  family's  attorney  to  see  that  her  assets  were 
protected. 

Two  hours  later,  Brad  Pince  received  a  call  from 
Grace's  lawyer.  He  said  that  she  was  still  upset  to  the  point 

111 


ANN  RULE 

of  hysteria,  but  he  would  see  that  she  was  properiy  repre- 
sented, if  not  by  him,  then  by  another  attorney. 

At  four  thirty  on  this  same  day,  Grace  Callas  called 
once  more  and  seemed  much  calmer.  Pince  explained 
that  he,  John  Padilla,  and  Michael  Downes  had  gone  to 
Hawaii  to  interview  her  husband  earlier  in  the  year,  and 
Pince  gave  her  more  details  on  the  death  of  Chuck  Leon- 
ard. Grace  confided  that  she  had  had  issues  with  Nick  for 
years,  and  had  known  of  several  girlfriends  he  had.  "He 
lies  to  me,  and  he  can  be  intimidating.  I'm  afraid  of 
him." 

Knowing  now  her  penchant  for  high  emotion,  Pince 
suspected  that  Grace  Callas  could  be  exaggerating,  espe- 
cially when  she  said  Nick  called  her  several  times  a  day. 
He  appeared  to  be  a  man  who  was  constantly  on  the 
phone;  between  his  many  daily  calls  to  Teresa,  and  his 
business  calls,  and  constant  calls  to  his  wife,  too,  it  was  a 
wonder  the  man  got  anything  done,  let  alone  manage  to 
successfully  juggle  a  wife  and  a  mistress  and  a  business. 

Pince  and  Downes  were  anxious  to  see  the  cards  Teresa 
had  sent  to  Nick  Callas.  They  would,  perhaps,  substantiate 
that  the  two  did  have  a  very  romantic,  intimate  relation- 
ship, far  more  intense  than  either  of  them  had  admitted. 
They  would  need  to  obtain  the  actual  cards  to  use  as  court 
exhibits;  copies  wouldn't  be  as  easy  for  a  handwriting  ex- 
pert to  examine. 

Three  days  later,  on  November  16,  1997,  Pince  talked 
once  more  to  Grace  Callas.  She  had  retained  an  attorney — 
Eleanor  Stegmeier — and  would  turn  the  cards  from  Teresa 
to  Nick  over  to  her.  As  Pince  had  suggested,  she  had  taken 


112 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

notes  during  her  phone  conversations  with  Nick.  He  had 
warned  her,  she  said,  to  stop  snooping  into  his  business. 

"Did  he  tell  you  anything  about  Chuck  Leonard's  mur- 
der?" Pince  asked. 

"He  told  me  that  Teresa  killed  her  husband  for  the  in- 
surance money — that  she's  now  saying  Chuck  abused  their 
daughter,  but  that  that's  not  true.  He  said  that  he  had  no 
involvement  with  Teresa,  but  that  everyone  who  knew  her 
was  being  investigated.  She  wanted  the  insurance  money 
and  she  wanted  to  move  to  Hawaii." 

"Which  was  it?"  Pince  asked.  "Did  your  husband  say 
her  motive  was  Chuck  Leonard's  insurance  payoff — or 
that  she  shot  him  because  he  was  molesting  their  daugh- 
ter?" 

She  wasn't  sure;  she  thought  that  Nick  had  told  her  dif- 
ferent things  at  different  times. 

"I've  been  told,"  Pince  began,  "that  the  reason  Nick 
can't  leave  you  is  because  all  the  money  he  has  is  money 
you  brought  into  the  marriage?" 

"When  I  married  him  in  December  1989,  I  had  about 
$300,000 — but  all  of  my  money  has  been  spent.  It's  gone 
now.  I  have  no  idea  what  Nick's  assets  are  worth — he 
hides  that  from  me,"  she  sighed.  "He  always  tells  me  he's 
broke.  He  wouldn't  pay  ten  dollars  for  his  son  to  sit  on 
Santa's  lap." 

Pince  didn't  have  to  ask  questions;  Grace  seemed  to 
have  an  endless  list  of  grievances  against  her  husband  of 
eight  years.  She  said  that  when  Nick  left  Hawaii  on  trips, 
he  always  suspended  her  credit  cards  so  she  couldn't 
spend  any  money  while  he  was  gone. 


113 


ANN  RULE 

It  was  like  watching  an  Oprah  or  Dr.  Phil  show  on 
nasty  divorces.  But  the  Callases  weren't  getting  a  divorce, 
and  Grace  insisted  they  were  still  married  and  not  really 
separated — except  temporarily,  and  only  for  medical  rea- 
sons. 

On  December  1 ,  Pince  and  Michael  Downes,  the  assis- 
tant prosecutor,  flew  to  Orange  County,  California,  and 
met  with  Grace  and  her  attorney.  Although  she  was  will- 
ing to  let  the  Washington  investigators  look  at  the  actual 
romantic  cards  Teresa  had  sent  to  Nick,  and  to  ask  Grace 
Callas  some  questions,  Eleanor  Stegmeier  refused  to  turn 
over  the  cards  to  them. 

But  they  needed  the  original  cards  because  they  would 
"tend  to  show  that  a  felony  had  been  committed,  or  that  a 
particular  person  committed  a  felony." 

The  cards  certainly  established  that  Teresa  and  Nick 
had  been  in  an  intimate  relationship — something  they 
both  continued  to  deny  ten  months  after  Chuck's  murder. 
If  Pince  and  Downes  had  to  get  a  search  warrant  to  seize 
them  as  evidence,  they  would  do  that. 

Brad  Pince  and  Michael  Downes  wondered  if  Teresa 
was  responsible  for  putting  those  cards  in  Nick's  accor- 
dion file,  knowing  full  well  that  Grace  would  find  them 
when  she  worked  on  the  books. 

Grace  told  them  that  Nick  was  accusing  her  of  trying  to 
send  him  to  prison  for  ten  years  with  her  stubborn  snoop- 
ing. And  he'd  brought  in  his  big  guns  when  he'd  said  that 
she  could  be  "arrested  as  a  conspirator,  dragged  to  Wash- 
ington State,  and  forced  to  leave  my  son  behind. 

"He  told  me  that  you  destroyed  evidence,  Mr.  Pince, 
that  Chuck  Leonard  was  a  pornographer,  and  that  the  sher- 

114 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

iff 's  office  destroyed  evidence  proving  that  he  was  molest- 
ing his  daughter,  and  that  you  ruined  Teresa's  alibi." 

Grace  Callas  said  that,  above  all,  her  husband  had 
warned  her  not  to  talk  to  any  detectives  from  Washington. 
That  would  be  best  for  him,  certainly.  Grace  was  a  loose 
cannon,  highly  suspicious,  given  to  outbursts  of  emotion, 
and  torn  between  getting  revenge  against  him  and  Teresa 
and  not  wanting  to  let  go  of  her  marriage. 

Few  people  are  more  dangerous  than  women  scorned. 


The  two  cards  that  someone  had  slipped  into  the  financial 
records  of  Nick  and  Grace's  corporation  would  have 
stunned  any  wife.  The  first  one  was  all  trees  and  hearts, 
drawn  as  simply  as  a  child  would,  although  the  printed 
sentiments  were  written  by  an  artist  at  the  American 
Greetings  card  company: 

/  don 't  ever  want 

to  take  you  for  granted. 

I  don 't  ever  want  to  forget 

what  it  was  like  before  you 

or  how  it  would  be 

without  you. 

I  don  't  ever  want  to  forget 

our  first  kiss 

or  our  last  touch, 

or  let  a  day  go  by 

without  telling  you 

how  much  you  mean  to  me, 

how  deeply  I  love  you,  and  how  much  I  need  you. 

115 


ANN  RULE 

/  don 't  ever  want  you  to  doubt 
the  way  I  feel  or  how  much 
happier  I  am  because  of  you. 
I  love  you. 

And  in  Teresa's  own  handwriting: 

With  all  My  heart  &  Soul 

Love, 

Teresa 

XXOOO 

The  second  card  showed  a  bridal  couple  through  a  car's 
rear  window.  They  were  dressed  in  1930s  wedding  clothes 
and  kissing.  The  word  "ALWAYS"  was  printed  in  capital 
letters  beneath. 

This  card  was  written  in  Teresa's  hand,  and  like  the  first, 
would  give  any  wife  pause. 

Nick, 

You  give  Me  peace  ...  that  I've  never  had.  .  .  . 
Thank  you— for  you. 

T 

"I  love  You  so  Much.  .  .  .  Your  (sic)  everything  to 
Me.  I  thank  you  for  being  in  my  life.  Standing  by  Me 
&  Loving  Me!  You  are  Everything  I  could  Want.  .  .  . 
What  everyone  wants. . . .  You  are  kind  &  knowing . . . 
gentel  (sic)  &  smart.  .  .  .  Your  (sic)  Just  right! — I 
miss  You  Every  Second  &  think  about  You  Every 
Second. . . .  I  feel  as  if  I've  known  You  all  My  Life. . . . 

116 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

/  know  Your  Love  for  Me  .  .  .  &  I  cannot  tell  You  How 
Special  It  and  You  have  Made  me  feel! .  .  .  I  know  I 
have  caused  You  pain  &  I  cannot  tell  you  how  Sorry 
I  am  for  that!  The  Outside  World  is  Crazy  for  me  &  I 
am  trying  to  find  a  way  thru  this.  .  .  .  You  are  the 
Most  Wonderful! 

Love  You, 

Teresa!  OOXX 


Teresa  had  many  reasons  to  be  thankful  to  Nick  Callas. 
Were  it  not  for  him  and  the  bail  money  he'd  posted  for  her, 
she  would  probably  still  be  sitting  behind  bars  in  the  Sno- 
homish County  Jail.  Instead,  she  was  living  in  a  nice 
apartment  that  her  attorney,  George  Cody,  was  paying  for, 
and  she  had  at  least  $10,000  in  cash  to  pay  John  Henry 
Browne.  She  wasn't  working,  and  either  Nick  Callas  or 
George  Cody  had  given  her  Browne's  fee. 

They  both  trusted  her. 

Teresa's  one  regret  was  that  she  could  not  see  Morgan, 
although  she  was  still  allowed  monitored  phone  conversa- 
tions with  her.  Without  Morgan,  she  seemed  devastated. 

With  the  assistance  of  Detective  Tim  Schennum  of  the 
Costa  Mesa  Police  Department,  Michael  Downes  and 
Brad  Pince  obtained  a  search  warrant  for  Eleanor  Steg- 
meier's  office.  To  search  an  attorney's,  physician's,  or 
clergy  person's  office,  California  law  demands  that  a  "spe- 
cial master"  (a  state  bar-appointed  attorney)  be  present. 
Grace  Callas 's  lawyer  was  not  pleased  to  have  a  search 
warrant  served  on  her  at  her  office. 

After  an  impasse,  she  agreed  to  talk  with  Detective 

117 


ANN  RULE 

Schennum.  The  original  cards  were  delivered  to  Downes 
and  Pince  soon  after.  It  would  have  been  much  easier  and 
less  costly  if  that  had  been  done  in  the  beginning,  but 
Grace's  attorney  had  wanted  to  protect  her. 

Browne  and  Downes  jousted  in  their  arguments. 
Browne  pointed  out  that  Teresa  had  been  responsible  and 
cooperative  since  she  had  bailed  out  from  jail,  and  Downes 
voiced  his  concern  that  she  was  "an  unpredictable  person" 
whom  he  still  considered  a  danger  to  the  witnesses  pre- 
pared to  testify  against  her. 


118 


Chapter  Seven 


And  unpredictable  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  was. 
As  Christmas  decorations  appeared  in  the  first  week  of 
December  1997,  law  enforcement  departments  in  Wash- 
ington State  were  searching  for  her.  She  had  disappeared. 

She  probably  would  not  look  like  the  Teresa  in  her  ear- 
lier photographs.  She  had  had  plastic  surgery  in  Novem- 
ber. Teresa  had  a  new  nose,  a  forehead  lift  or  Botox 
injections,  and  a  modification  of  her  prominent  chin.  If 
she  had  a  new  haircut,  and  changed  the  color  of  her  hair 
she  might  be  hard  to  recognize. 

Wherever  she  was. 

She  had  apparently  paid  for  the  surgery  with  the  esti- 
mated $10,000  to  $15,000  meant  to  retain  John  Henry 
Browne,  Although  Browne  was  a  generous  man  who  often 
represented  clients  pro  bono  (for  free)  when  they  had  no 
means  to  pay,  he  wasn't  pleased  that  she  had  simply  run 
out  on  him  without  any  warning.  She  had  shown  up  for  an 
appointment  with  him  a  few  days  earlier,  and  she  was 
scheduled  to  be  in  his  office  again  on  December  3. 

Teresa  had  missed  her  appointment  with  Browne,  but 
she  had  been  in  touch  with  him  as  recently  as  the  previous 

119 


ANN  RULE 

weekend.  He  was  as  baffled  as  Nick  Callas  and  George 
Cody  were  that  she  would  bolt  and  run,  mostly  because 
Browne  felt  her  defense  case  had  been  getting  stronger. 
He  believed  she  had  a  good  chance  at  acquittal.  That 
chance  would  diminish  markedly  now  if  the  detectives 
could  prove  Teresa  had  deliberately  disappeared — and 
they  probably  could. 

Browne  walked  into  the  Snohomish  County  Sheriff's 
Office  to  notify  them  that  Teresa  was  missing. 

According  to  Nick  Callas,  he  had  stopped  sending  Te- 
resa money  for  living  expenses  in  late  spring  1997.  He 
believed  that  George  Cody  was  taking  care  of  that. 

Callas  did  admit,  however,  that  beyond  putting  up  her 
bail  money,  it  was  he  who  had  furnished  the  check  to  pay 
John  Henry  Browne. 

Cody  hadn't  spoken  to  Teresa  for  a  few  days,  nor  had 
he  been  able  to  reach  her  by  phone  after  December  1 .  He 
went  to  the  apartment  he'd  rented  for  her.  The  manager  let 
him  in,  and  there  was  the  immediate  sense  that  the  rooms 
had  been  abandoned.  It  smelled  empty.  Dust  had  begun  to 
settle  on  flat  areas,  and  beyond  some  food  spoiling  in  the 
refrigerator,  there  was  no  sign  that  anyone  currently  lived 
there.  Most  of  Teresa's  furniture  was  gone,  along  with  her 
personal  items. 

Their  footsteps  echoed  on  bare  floors. 

Stunned,  Cody  gave  notice  on  the  apartment — he  felt  in 
his  gut  that  Teresa  didn't  plan  to  come  back  here.  Her  car 
was  parked  nearby,  however,  and  he  had  it  towed  to  a  safe 
place. 


120 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Now  Teresa  had  betrayed  three  men  who  were  trying  to 
help  her  gain  her  freedom:  Nick  Callas,  George  Cody,  and 
John  Henry  Browne.  And  aside  from  breaking  promises  to 
them,  she  had  cost  each  of  them  financially — Nick  the 
most.  Browne  was  the  only  one  without  emotional  ties  to 
Teresa,  but  he  was  frustrated  with  himself  that  he  hadn't 
seen  it  coming. 

Nick  was  now  holding  the  bag  for  $500,000  in  bail 
money.  His  marriage  had  blown  all  to  pieces,  and  for  all 
her  promises  to  him,  her  professions  of  love  and  her  senti- 
mental cards,  he  realized  that  Teresa  had  abandoned  him. 

Yes,  she  had  been  depressed  because  she  had  little  con- 
tact with  Morgan,  but  that  could  change  at  any  time.  If  she 
should  be  acquitted  of  murder  charges,  Morgan  could  live 
with  her  again,  but  for  now,  Morgan  was  on  the  State's 
witness  list.  And  even  if  Teresa  could  somehow  arrange  to 
meet  up  with  her  young  daughter,  as  a  fugitive  from  jus- 
tice, she  would  always  be  looking  over  her  shoulder. 

It  had  been  only  three  months  since  Teresa's  "acciden- 
tal" overdose  in  Washington  State.  Had  she  gone  off  to 
some  lonely  place  where  she  could  commit  suicide  without 
being  rescued?  Michael  Downes  thought  not.  He  cited 
signs  that  she  had  planned  her  escape.  Her  home  in  Everett 
had  been  emptied  of  almost  everything  of  value.  Eventu- 
ally, the  Snohomish  County  detectives  would  locate  her 
belongings  in  storage  at  a  female  acquaintance's  home. 

Chuck's  sister,  Theresa  Leonard,  had  taken  custody  of 
Morgan,  and  they  were  living  in  Portland,  Oregon.  The- 
resa was  frightened  when  she  heard  that  Teresa  had  fled. 
She  worried  that  Morgan's  mother  might  try  to  kidnap  the 
five-year-old  and  take  her  with  her  in  her  flight  to  avoid 

121 


ANN  RULE 

prosecution.  The  Snohomish  County  investigators  reas- 
sured Aunt  Theresa  that  they  had  notified  the  Portland 
Police  Department  and  Morgan's  school  that  her  mother 
did  not  have  legal  custody  of  her,  and  that  it  was  possible 
she  might  attempt  to  abduct  her. 

Jan  Jorgensen,  spokeswoman  for  the  Snohomish 
County  Sheriff's  Office,  told  reporters  that  they  were  re- 
ceiving assistance  from  the  FBI,  the  U.S.  Marshal's  Ser- 
vice, and  the  Washington  State  Attorney  General's  Office 
in  an  ever-spreading  dragnet  for  Teresa. 

Michael  Downes  stopped  himself  from  saying  "I  told 
you  so,"  but  it  was  obvious  that  the  "no  bail"  he'd  re- 
quested three  months  earlier  would  have  prevented  her 
from  running  simply  because  she  would  have  been  jailed 
until  her  trial. 

The  Snohomish  County  detectives  first  thought  that  she 
had  probably  gone  to  Hawaii,  and  that  she  was  being  hid- 
den by  Callas.  But  he  willingly  cooperated  with  them,  and 
they  believed  he  hadn't  heard  from  her.  Some  of  his  devo- 
tion to  her  had  to  have  diminished  since  Teresa  had  just  cost 
him  $500,000.  He  assured  the  investigators  that  she  hadn't 
contacted  him  at  all  and  he  had  no  idea  where  she  was. 

Nor  did  any  of  Teresa's  girlfriends  who  considered 
themselves  part  of  her  inside  circle  or  the  psychologist 
whom  the  defense  team  had  consulted,  even  though  Te- 
resa had  had  twenty-five  sessions  with  her  since  May. 
Teresa  clearly  knew  when  to  keep  herself  to  herself 

Witnesses  came  forward  to  say  that  Teresa  appeared  to 
have  black  eyes  before  Thanksgiving;  many  suspected  she 
had  either  been  in  a  brawl  or,  more  likely,  had  had  plastic 
surgery.  What  did  she  look  like  now?  Detectives  found  the 

122 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

plastic  surgeon  who  had  operated  on  her.  He  verified  that 
her  face  had  changed  after  he  had  operated  on  her  on  No- 
vember 1 1 ,  modifying  her  chin  and  nose.  With  her  blond 
hair  dyed  dark,  and  wearing  sunglasses,  it  would  be  very 
hard  to  spot  her,  even  if  they  knew  where  to  look. 

As  the  days  passed,  it  seemed  likely  that  Teresa  had  left 
the  country,  or  at  least  the  mainland.  She  could  not  have 
done  that  with  her  own  ID,  even  though  she  had  in  her 
possession  various  credit  cards  using  different  names.  She 
would  need  either  a  driver's  license  or  a  passport  with  a 
photo  on  it  at  some  points  in  her  journey — to  get  on  a 
plane  or  to  cash  checks. 

From  the  beginning.  Brad  Pince,  John  Padilla,  and  Jim 
Scharf  had  worked  with  various  phone  companies  to  have 
numbers  that  she  might  call  monitored.  Nick  Callas  had 
myriad  phone  numbers,  set  up  under  many  names,  some 
with  special  calling  plans  that  would  assure  his  wife 
would  not  know  how  often  he'd  talked  to  Teresa  over  the 
last  few  years.  One  was  a  "500"  setup  that  seemed  de- 
signed specifically  so  the  two  of  them  could  send  and  re- 
ceive calls  to  each  other  from  anywhere  in  the  world. 

Even  after  she  had  sacrificed  Nick's  bail  money  when 
she  fled,  detectives  had  seen  how  addicted  he  was  to  her. 
Long  after  he  had  to  have  known  that  she  was  capable  of 
murder  he  had  remained  steadfastly  supportive  of  her;  it 
apparently  never  occurred  to  him  that  Teresa  would  ever 
be  dangerous  to  him  or  his  family.  He  appeared  to  cling  to 
his  belief  that  Teresa  was  "ninety  percent  angel." 

Pince  and  Padilla  kept  careful  track  of  calls  to  Nick 
Callas 's  many  numbers.  And  that  paid  off.  Cell  phone  calls 
had  come  in  to  one  of  those  phones  from  Puerto  Rico.  A 

123 


ANN  RULE 

cautious  statement  to  the  media  said  that  someone  close  to 
Teresa  had  heard  from  her,  although  detectives  would  not 
reveal  which  of  her  friends  or  relatives  had  received  the 
calls. 

Two  weeks  later,  the  investigators  said  that  the  Puerto 
Rico  cell  phone  calls  had  gone  to  Nick  Callas.  They  still 
would  not  verify  that  the  calls  had  come  from  Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard.  How  she  had  made  her  way  to  Puerto 
Rico  was  anyone's  guess — but  she  had  evidently  had 
money. 

By  checking  flight  manifests,  detectives  found  the 
name  of  a  thirty-five-year-old  Snohomish  County  woman 
who  had  flown  on  American  Airlines  from  Seattle  to  Chi- 
cago on  December  2,  1997,  and  then  to  Puerto  Rico  on  a 
one-way  ticket.  Her  name  was  Carolyn  Fabray. 

Carolyn  turned  out  to  be  another  woman  who  had  felt 
sorry  for  Teresa,  and  stayed  a  friend  to  her  despite  the 
murder  charges  against  her.  She  admitted  to  detectives  that 
she  was  storing  several  large  furniture  pieces — including  a 
bed  and  a  futon — because  Teresa  could  no  longer  pay  her 
apartment  rent.  She  had  even  offered  her  pick-up  truck  to 
move  the  furniture. 

Did  she  know  where  her  driver's  license,  credit  cards, 
and  other  pieces  of  ID  were?  When  the  investigators  asked 
her  that,  she  went  to  her  bedroom  and  came  back  with  the 
purse  she  kept  them  in.  As  she  rifled  through  her  purse  and 
then  dumped  the  contents  on  a  table,  she  looked  up,  sur- 
prised. 

"They're  not  here?"  she  said,  surprised.  "My  ID  is 
gone." 

"All  of  it?"  Detective  Joe  Ward  asked. 

124 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"No — but  my  Washington  State  ID  card  is  gone,  and 
some  of  my  kids'  medical  cards  are  missing." 

"Did  your  state  ID  card  have  your  photograph  on  it?" 
Brad  Pince  asked,  already  knowing  the  answer. 

"Yes." 

Carolyn  Fabray  bore  a  resemblance  to  Teresa  Gaethe- 
Leonard:  same  age,  same  body  type,  and  her  features  were 
similar.  Without  knowing  it,  she  had  provided  Teresa  with 
a  way  to  pass  airport  security.  It  was  1997 — four  years 
before  9/11,  and  few  who  staffed  the  airline  ticket  coun- 
ters and  gates  took  more  than  a  cursory  look  at  ID. 

A  federal  warrant  for  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard's  arrest 
on  charges  of  fleeing  to  avoid  prosecution  was  issued  on 
December  11,1 997,  nine  days  after  she  vanished.  The  FBI 
and  the  Fugitive  Task  Force  in  Puerto  Rico  were  notified 
of  the  general  location  of  the  calls  emanating  from  there. 

Teresa  was  probably  somewhere  in  San  Juan,  but  they 
didn't  know  exactly  where.  And  there  was  a  good  chance 
that  she  might  be  moving  on  to  other  countries,  using 
Puerto  Rico  only  as  a  jumping-off  location.  Nick  Callas 
suggested  that  she  might  sign  on  to  be  a  crew  member  on 
a  boat. 

But  she  hadn't. 

Five  days  later,  Teresa  was  arrested  in  yet  another  hospi- 
tal room.  She  had  been  taken  there  after  a  suicide  attempt, 
this  one  far  more  serious  than  the  one  in  August.  Had  she 
meant  to  come  so  close  to  dying?  Possibly  not,  but  what 
could  be  more  lonely  than  being  far  from  home  and  the 
daughter  she  cherished  as  Christmas  approached — not  to 
mention  being  faced  with  murder  charges  in  an  upcoming 
trial?  There  was  no  cold  weather,  or  snow,  or  evergreen 

125 


ANN  RULE 

trees  in  San  Juan.  There  were  poinsettias,  but  they  were 
trees  reaching  rooftops,  not  plants  wrapped  in  red-and-gold 
foil.  The  language  she  heard  was  Spanish. 

Teresa  was  adrift  and  alone. 

Probably  Teresa  loved  Morgan  as  much  as  she  was  ca- 
pable of  loving  anyone.  The  little  girl  was  part  of  her, 
closer  to  her  than  the  sisters  and  brother  she  had  grown  up 
with.  Morgan  was  the  one  person  in  the  world  who  had 
believed  in  her  completely,  and  taken  her  every  word  as 
gospel.  As  one  of  Teresa's  employees  said  once,  "Teresa 
and  Morgan  were  like  two  peas  in  a  pod." 

One  has  to  wonder  if  Teresa  pondered  on  what  a  stupid 
and  cruel  thing  she  had  done  when  she  shot  Chuck.  Per- 
haps she  didn't  care  for  anyone  else — even  Morgan.  She 
had  taken  another  human  being's  life,  and  that  had  ruined 
her  own  future.  What  did  she  have  to  look  forward  to  as 
she  sat  alone  in  a  hotel  room,  watching  neon  lights  create 
flashing  multicolored  images  on  the  shadowy  walls  of  her 
room  and  hearing  the  constant  rhythm  of  steel  drums  and 
the  thrum  of  salsa,  bomba,  and  reggae  music  instead  of 
Christmas  carols? 

Even  though  she  may  not  have  been  aware  of  it,  those 
who  hunted  Teresa  were  closing  in  on  her,  and  Nick,  the 
man  she'd  counted  on  completely  for  years,  was  no  longer 
in  her  corner.  She  had  burned  too  many  bridges  behind 
her. 

John  Henry  Browne  explained  to  reporters  how  Teresa 
had  been  located  in  San  Juan,  Puerto  Rico.  He  had  re- 
ceived a  call  from  her  sister  Lois  with  disturbing  news 
about  Teresa's  condition  and  he  had  moved  immediately  to 
talk  to  the  hospital  where  she'd  reportedly  been  taken. 

126 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

She'd  been  living  in  the  Embassy  Suites  Hotel  in  San 
Juan  under  the  name  Sally  Lopez.  She  might  have  been 
out  of  money  or  going  back  to  her  first  apartment  over  a 
laundromat.  She  might  have  been  planning  to  catch  an- 
other plane,  headed  far  away. 

Or  she  may  have  finally  decided  to  check  out  of  her 
Hfe. 

Teresa's  time  at  the  Embassy  Suites  had  run  out,  and 
she  was  due  to  leave  the  hotel  on  December  15 — but  by 
1 :00  p.m.,  she  failed  to  turn  in  her  key  and  receive  a  copy 
of  her  bill. 

The  main  desk  gave  her  a  few  more  hours,  and  then  a 
stafif  member  checked  her  room  to  see  if  she  was  still 
there.  The  door  was  bolted  from  the  inside  and  they  had  to 
break  in.  When  they  did,  they  saw  that  she  had  wedged  a 
chair  against  the  door,  too. 

Teresa  was  inside,  unconscious  and  cold  to  the  touch. 
The  hotel  called  an  ambulance,  and  she  was  rushed  to  the 
Catalina  Regional  Hospital.  She  was  placed  under  the  care 
of  Dr.  Gootsman,  who  said  that  she  had  overdosed  on  pre- 
scription drugs  and  probably  alcohol.  Her  condition  was 
"serious  but  stable."  She  was  admitted  to  the  San  Juan 
hospital  as  Sally  Lopez.  She  also  went  by  the  name  Sally 
Fabray  in  Puerto  Rico. 

Pince  called  the  FBI  office  in  San  Juan  and  let  Special 
Agent  Louis  Vega  know  that  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  had 
been  located.  Even  though  it  was  almost  midnight  in 
Puerto  Rico,  Vega  said  he  would  contact  another  agent  and 
they  would  go  at  once  to  the  Catalina  Hospital  and  see 
what  they  could  find  out. 

Vega  called  Brad  Pince  back  at  3:30  a.m.  San  Juan  time 

127 


ANN  RULE 

with  a  report  on  Teresa.  "She's  in  custody,"  Vega  said. 
"She's  been  turned  over  to  the  San  Juan  Police  Depart- 
ment, but  she's  not  in  any  condition  to  leave  the  hospital. 
She's  being  guarded  by  the  police  until  she's  well  enough 
to  be  released  to  jail." 

Pince  checked  with  hospital  personnel,  and  they  said 
Teresa  would  probably  be  able  to  leave  in  a  day  or  two. 
That  turned  out  to  be  an  underestimate  of  her  condition: 
She  got  worse  before  she  got  better  and  spent  Christmas  in 
a  hospital  bed. 

It  was  probably  better  than  being  in  jail. 

Louis  Vega  checked  her  hotel  suite  on  December  16. 
There  were  no  suitcases  in  her  room,  but  he  took  posses- 
sion of  some  of  Teresa's  jewelry  pieces.  There  was  a  box 
of  brown  hair  dye,  a  long-distance  telephone  card,  two 
airline  luggage  tags,  and  a  pocket  calendar.  The  hotel's  se- 
curity department  had  found  $325  in  cash,  and  had  put  it 
in  their  safe. 

Where  were  her  clothes?  Had  she  thrown  them  away, 
given  them  away,  or  sent  them  on  ahead  to  her  next  desti- 
nation? If  she  had  done  that,  her  destination  had  changed, 
and  she  had  become  so  morose  that  she  drank  and  took 
pills  until  she  became  comatose.  She  seemed  to  have  been 
serious — serious  enough  that  she'd  blocked  the  door  to 
keep  everyone  out. 

Until  it  didn't  matter  anymore. 

Teresa's  defense  attorney  and  the  Snohomish  County 
detectives  located  Teresa  at  almost  the  same  time. 

"The  major  thing  was  that  we  wanted  her  alive," 
Browne  said.  "So  obviously  the  best  thing  to  do  is  keep 
her  in  custody  and  keep  her  alive." 

128 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

It  certainly  seemed  the  wise  choice.  Teresa  had  imbibed 
so  much  alcohol  and  sleeping  pills  that  she  barely  sur- 
vived. Another  hour  or  so,  and  she  probably  would  have 
been  dead. 

Teresa  had  called  Nick  Callas  from  Puerto  Rico  and  the 
Snohomish  County  investigators  were  only  hours  behind 
her  when  she  was  found  comatose  in  the  Embassy  Suites. 
She  remained  hospitalized  for  two  weeks,  and  when  her 
condition  was  stable,  and  doctors  thought  she  would  sur- 
vive, barring  any  unforeseen  complications,  she  was 
moved  to  a  women's  prison  north  of  San  Juan. 

Pale  and  thin,  Teresa  immediately  made  friends  with 
the  warden's  wife,  who  felt  sorry  for  her.  Teresa  wasn't 
like  the  other  women  at  Vega  Alta.  She  was  genteel  and 
had  lovely  manners.  When  she  saw  that  Teresa  couldn't 
stomach  the  food  most  prisoners  ate,  the  warden's  wife 
cooked  special  dishes  for  her  and  carried  them  into  the 
prison,  urging  Teresa  to  eat  because  she  was  much  too  del- 
gada. 

As  she  always  had,  Teresa  evoked  sympathy  in  both 
men  and  women,  and  the  warden's  wife  in  Puerto  Rico 
doubted  that  the  charges  against  her  back  in  Washington 
State  could  be  as  serious  as  the  FBI  said.  She  visited  with 
Teresa  and  tried  to  keep  her  from  being  homesick.  Teresa 
spoke  of  her  little  girl  and  of  how  much  she  missed  her. 

It  was  all  very  sad. 


Deputy  Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  hoped  that  Teresa 
would  waive  extradition  and  return  to  Snohomish  County 
without  a  morass  of  legal  paperwork.  John  Henry  Browne 

129 


ANN  RULE 

said  he  was  sure  that  would  not  be  a  problem,  and  even  if 
Teresa  did  initially  refuse  to  come  home,  he  would  urge 
her  to  waive  extradition. 

"You  can  delay  things  for  months,"  he  said,  "but  my 
guess  is  that  Teresa  won't  want  to  spend  a  lot  of  time  in  a 
Puerto  Rican  jail." 

Some  reporters  wrote  that  John  Henry  Browne  was  no 
longer  representing  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard,  in  light  of  her 
escape.  His  office  neither  verified  nor  denied  that. 

Although  it  seems  exotic,  Puerto  Rico  is  not  a  foreign 
country  but  a  U.S.  commonwealth.  Extraditing  Teresa  to 
the  continental  United  States  would  be  almost  automatic 
anyway.  However,  Snohomish  County  authorities  had  to 
prove  that  the  person  being  held  in  the  women's  prison  in 
Vega  Alta  north  of  San  Juan  really  was  Teresa  Gaethe- 
Leonard.  There  was  a  good  chance  she  might  look  entirely 
different  than  her  picture  on  the  Wanted  bulletins,  but  it 
was  unlikely  that  she  had  m^anaged  to  change  her  finger- 
prints. A  few  years  later,  the  advances  in  DNA  matching 
would  have  simplified  everything,  but  in  1998,  it  was  not 
yet  commonly  used  or  accepted  as  irrefutable  evidence. 

Actually,  Teresa  was  quite  comfortable  in  her  Puerto 
Rican  prison,  but  she  was  thousands  of  miles  away  from 
Morgan.  She  put  on  some  of  the  weight  she'd  lost,  and  she 
enjoyed  visiting  with  the  warden's  wife.  But  Browne  had 
said  he  believed  she  would  come  back  to  Snohomish 
County  without  a  struggle.  Those  who  knew  how  adept 
she  was  at  escaping  were  apprehensive,  especially  when 
they  heard  how  close  she  had  grown  to  the  warden's  wife. 

She  plight  run  again  if  she  got  the  chance. 

Michael  Downes  kept  hearing  conflicting  information. 

130 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Teresa  was  to  have  an  extradition  hearing  at  Hato  Rey  Su- 
perior Court  near  San  Juan,  but  that  didn't  happen. 

There  was  one  good  reason  for  Teresa  to  waive  extradi- 
tion— loyalty  to  Nick  Callas.  If  she  agreed  to  return  to 
Washington  State  by  February  4,  1998,  which  would  be 
exactly  sixty  days  since  she  hadn't  shown  up  for  her  court 
hearing,  and  almost  a  year  since  Chuck  Leonard  died, 
there  was  a  good  chance  that  Nick  could  get  most  of  his 
half-million-dollar  bail  money  returned.  The  county  would 
deduct  the  expenses  it  had  in  searching  for  Teresa,  and  for 
bringing  her  back,  but  that  was  surely  better  for  Callas 
than  losing  the  whole  $500,000. 

Even  so,  it  would  be  expensive,  and  it  might  take  a  very 
long  time  for  Callas 's  money  to  come  back  to  him.  The 
cost  of  tracking  the  bail  jumper  would  probably  be  be- 
tween $75,000  and  $100,000. 

Teresa's  lover  had  cooperated  with  the  Snohomish 
County  authorities  and  helped  them  locate  Teresa.  How  he 
felt  about  her  was  a  moot  question.  Their  relationship  had 
lasted  eleven  years,  even  after  she  married  Chuck.  She  had 
to  have  some  kind  of  emotional  hold  over  him. 

Callas  and  his  wife  had  finally  separated.  Any  wife 
would  have  been  displeased — if  not  furious — to  have  her 
husband  pay  a  huge  bail  amount  for  his  mistress,  an  ac- 
cused murderess.  And  Grace  Callas  couldn't  forgive  Nick 
for  his  years  of  deception  and  for  "giving  away"  half  a 
million  dollars  of  their  money. 


It  was  time  for  Teresa  to  come  home.  Brad  Pince,  and  De- 
tectives Sally  Heth  and  Susie  Johnson  boarded  an  American 

131 


ANN  RULE 

Airlines  flight  at  7:30  a.m.  on  January  20, 1998,  headed  for 
Puerto  Rico  to  pick  up  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard.  The  next 
morning,  they  talked  to  the  owners  of  several  small  apart- 
ments located  above  a  laundromat  in  San  Juan — the  last 
place  Teresa  had  reportedly  lived  before  she  checked  into 
the  Embassy  Suites. 

They  gave  the  detectives  copies  of  a  rental  agreement 
signed  by  a  woman  named  Carol.  Pince  showed  them  a 
booking  photo  of  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard,  and  the  land- 
lords said  that  was  the  woman  they  knew  as  "Carol."  The 
mystery  of  where  her  clothes  and  other  belongings  were 
was  solved;  her  suitcases,  some  shoes,  and  some  purses 
had  been  left  at  her  first  small  apartment  in  San  Juan. 
Her  landlords  had  boxed  up  all  of  her  personal  posses- 
sions with  the  help  of  a  local  attorney  who  presented 
them  with  an  official  document  giving  him  the  right  to 
take  possession  of  her  things.  What  part  he  played  in 
Teresa's  life  was  hard  to  determine.  When  she  got  back 
to  the  continental  United  States,  Teresa  would  tell  a  cell 
mate  that  there  was  a  man  in  Puerto  Rico  who  was  very 
interested  in  helping  her. 

That  could  very  well  have  been  true,  except  that  he 
spoke  only  Spanish — at  least  in  front  of  laundromat/apart- 
ment owners.  Otherwise,  he  fit  the  pattern  of  the  older 
men  who  doted  on  her. 

Finding  some  of  Teresa's  clothes  solved  one  problem; 
they  didn't  know  what  she  was  going  to  wear  on  the  plane 
to  Seattle.  She'd  left  the  hospital  in  one  of  their  gowns  and 
had  worn  prison  garb  ever  since. 

The  Snohomish  County  detectives  then  drove  to  the 
San  Juan  police  station,  where  Teresa  had  been  moved 

132 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

from  the  prison  in  Vega  Alta.  They  planned  to  pick  her  up 
and  leave  as  soon  as  possible  to  return  to  Everett.  When 
they  finally  savv^  her  in  person,  she  did  look  different.  Her 
plastic  surgery  was  subtle,  but  her  forehead  was  smoother, 
and  her  nose  and  chin  appeared  to  have  been  altered.  She 
insisted  that  she  hadn't  been  trying  to  disguise  herself,  but 
had  wanted  only  to  look  more  attractive. 

If  that  was  her  real  reason,  it  hadn't  worked;  she  looked 
much  plainer  than  she  did  in  most  of  her  earlier  photos. 
She  had  gained  weight  with  the  warden's  wife's  cooking, 
and  her  face  showed  the  stress  of  her  circumstances.  But  it 
was  more  than  that.  There  was  no  question  that  she'd  had 
work  done  on  her  face  by  a  skilled  surgeon. 

Detective  Susie  Johnson  took  five  photos  of  Teresa, 
three  of  them  showing  healed-over  bedsores  on  her  head 
and  spine.  It  was  clear  she  had  been  unconscious  longer 
than  any  doctor  had  predicted. 

"That  happened  when  I  lay  in  one  position  in  the  hospi- 
tal for  fourteen  days,"  Teresa  explained.  "I  got  pneumonia, 
too." 

After  Teresa  was  thoroughly  searched  and  the  paper- 
work completed,  an  unmarked  San  Juan  police  car  drove 
them  to  the  airport  where  they  waited  to  board  a  United 
Airlines  flight  back  to  Washington  State.  The  Snohomish 
County  detectives  bought  Teresa  a  sandwich  and  a  soft 
drink  from  a  vendor  at  the  San  Juan  Airport. 

On  the  plane,  Susie  Johnson  and  Sally  Heth  sat  on  ei- 
ther side  of  her,  and  Brad  Pince  sat  across  the  aisle. 

"She  was  very  chatty  in  the  airport  and  on  the  plane," 
Heth  said,  "both  to  me  and  Susie  Johnson." 

Teresa  seemed  familiar  with  the  island  of  Puerto  Rico, 

133 


ANN  RULE 

and  said  that  Ponce  was  a  much  more  pleasant  city  to  visit 
than  San  Juan.  Although  it  was  "very  corrupt,"  Teresa  said 
that  anyone  with  lots  of  money  could  get  anything  they 
wanted — and  faster — in  Ponce.  "You  can  get  your  car 
fixed  first,"  she  said,  "even  if  it  was  last  in  the  line." 

Teresa  described  Puerto  Rico  as  "the  trampoline  be- 
tween South  America  and  North  America  for  drug  runners." 

Sally  Heth  wondered  if  Teresa  had  been  intending  to 
bounce  on  that  trampoline  into  some  hiding  place  in  South 
America. 

Teresa  was  friendly  enough  on  the  long  flight  home. 
She  helped  her  female  captors  as  they  worked  over  cross- 
word puzzles  to  pass  the  time.  She  offered  correct  sugges- 
tions for  words  that  fit  into  spaces.  They  could  tell  that 
she  was  an  intelligent  woman  with  a  large  vocabulary  and 
excellent  social  skills.  She  seemed  to  accept  her  capture, 
although  she  was  embarrassed  to  have  to  board  the  planes 
in  handcuffs,  and  she  tried  to  avoid  the  stares  of  other 
passengers. 

After  a  few  hours  in  flight,  Heth  escorted  Teresa  to  the 
plane's  bathroom.  While  they  were  there,  Teresa  confided 
that  her  brother  was  a  detective  somewhere  in  the  Mid- 
west. (It  was  unclear  if  she  was  talking  about  Frank  Jones 
or  Lois  Jones's  husband,  although  it  was  probably  her 
brother-in-law.) 

Heth  hesitated  for  a  moment,  and  then  said,  "May  I  ask 
you  a  personal  question?" 

"Sure." 

"What  does  your  brother  think  about  your  situation?" 

Teresa  answered  somewhat  obliquely.  "They  have  it  all 
wrong." 

134 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"Who  are  they?" 

"The  newspapers."  Teresa  was  implying  that  her  brother 
had  read  about  her  case  in  the  newspapers.  "They  think 
that  I  wanted  to  mn  away  and  live  with  my  boyfriend  in 
Hawaii,  and  that  is  not  true  at  all." 

The  two  women — detective  and  prisoner — agreed  that 
the  media  rarely  report  the  news  accurately.  Heth  didn't 
have  to  lie  to  Teresa  to  say  that.  The  press  can  sometimes 
be  the  bane  of  police  investigators'  existence. 

"I  thought  it  was  more  of  a  domestic  situation — "  Heth 
said  carefully,  referring  to  what  had  happened  between 
Teresa  and  Chuck. 

"Yeah,  John  Henry's  taking  care  of  things,"  Teresa  said, 
referring  to  her  attorney,  and  then  caught  herself  "He 
would  probably  kill  me  if  he  knew  1  was  talking  to  you — 
it's  not  like  you're  on  my  side." 

The  conversation  then  ended  abruptly.  When  they  re- 
turned to  their  seats,  Teresa  turned  her  back  on  Heth  and 
begin  to  talk  to  Detective  Johnson  on  subjects  less  fraught 
with  pitfalls. 

When  they  landed  in  Seattle,  Pince  drove  them  all  to 
the  Snohomish  County  Jail  sixty  miles  north,  where  they 
booked  Teresa. 

They  had  journeyed  to  Puerto  Rico  and  back  in  less 
than  forty-eight  hours. 


There  would  be  no  reunion  between  Teresa  and  Morgan, 
who  had  turned  six  on  December  30,  1997,  just  before  the 
New  Year.  Morgan  was  now  living  with  Chuck's  sister,  her 
aunt  Theresa,  and  her  two  older  cousins  in  Oregon.  She 

135 


ANN  RULE 

had  spent  her  first  Christmas  without  her  father  or  her 
mother.  There  was  a  strong  possibiUty  that  she  would  be  a 
witness  in  her  mother's  trial,  and  that  made  meetings  be- 
tween them  doubtfiil. 

If  he  could  avoid  it,  John  Henry  Browne — who  was  still 
representing  Teresa — didn't  want  to  call  Morgan  to  the 
witness  stand.  She  had  already  been  through  enough. 

Detectives  had  taken  to  calling  Theresa  Leonard  the 
"good  Theresa"  and  their  prisoner  the  "bad  Teresa." 
Chuck's  sister  loved  Morgan  dearly  and  was  prepared  to 
do  anything  she  could  to  see  that  the  child  had  a  safe  and 
happy  life.  Morgan  and  Theresa's  daughter  soon  became 
closer  than  just  cousins;  despite  the  gap  between  their 
ages,  they  eventually  thought  of  each  other  as  sisters. 

They  were  gradually  achieving  some  degree  of  nor- 
malcy. Teresa  had  sent  presents  for  Morgan  before  she 
fled;  she  complained  that  Morgan  had  never  gotten  them, 
but  she  had.  Aunt  Theresa  was  doing  her  best  not  to  bad- 
mouth  the  woman  whom  she  believed  had  murdered  her 
brother — not  for  Teresa's  sake  but  for  Morgan's,  and  for 
Chuck's  sake,  too. 

Because  of  her  escape,  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  had 
once  again  missed  a  trial  date.  A  new  date  was  set.  She 
was  scheduled  to  go  on  trial  in  two  months.  George  Cody, 
the  original  lawyer  who  had  been  there  for  her  right  up 
until  he  discovered  her  empty  apartment,  withdrew  from 
her  case  entirely.  Cody  had  no  choice;  he  was  now  on  the 
State's  witness  list  to  testify  against  Teresa. 

Teresa  herself  was  back  in  the  Snohomish  County  Jail, 
and  not  likely  to  be  released;  her  bail  was  now  $5  million, 
and  she  had  no  one  left  who  would  gamble  anywhere  near 

136 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

that  much  money  on  her.  She  steadfastly  clung  to  her  not- 
guilty  plea  in  Chuck's  death. 

John  Henry  Browne  was  preparing  a  complicated  de- 
fense, made  more  difficult  for  him  when  his  client  jumped 
bail  and  disappeared.  Still,  her  behavior  whenever  she  was 
free  from  a  jail  cell  made  his  plea  believable.  Snohomish 
County  Superior  Court  Judge  Charles  French  accepted 
Browne's  plea  of  "innocent  by  reason  of  insanity." 

This  was  a  woman  who  had  twice  attempted  suicide 
with  overdoses  of  drugs  and  alcohol.  Browne  had  her  ex- 
amined by  a  forensic  psychologist  who  was  prepared  to 
testify  that  Teresa  was  legally  insane  at  the  time  she  killed 
her  estranged  husband,  according  to  the  M'Naughten 
Rule.  M'Naughten  stipulates  that  the  defendant  must  be 
incapable  of  discerning  the  difference  between  right  and 
wrong  at  the  time  of  his  or  her  crime. 

Usually,  if  a  suspect  plans  and  prepares  for  her  crime, 
flees  from  the  scene,  and  makes  efforts  to  cover  up  evi- 
dence, she  can  be  construed  to  be  aware  of  the  difference 
between  right  and  wrong  during  that  criminal  act.  Joyce 
Lilly's  statements  to  detectives — four  of  them  at  this 
point — indicated  that  Teresa  had  planned  Chuck's  murder, 
even  to  the  point  of  picking  out  her  "disguise"  clothes  and 
entering  his  house  on  a  dry  run  three  months  before  she 
actually  shot  him. 

And  Teresa  had  covered  up  her  crime  afterward  by  in- 
sisting that  Joyce  hide  the  murder  gun,  her  clothes  and 
boots,  and  the  key  to  Chuck's  house.  Teresa  had  even  hid- 
den her  car  in  Joyce's  garage. 

She  seemed  to  be  in  her  right  mind  before,  during,  and 
after  she  shot  Chuck. 

137 


ANN  RULE 

But  how  does  anyone  know  what  is  going  on  in  some- 
one else's  mind  at  any  time?  Brains  don't  have  picture 
windows. 

At  John  Henry  Browne's  request,  Teresa  was  trans- 
ferred to  Western  State  Hospital  for  a  psychiatric  evalua- 
tion. 

Trial  dates  passed  in  March,  April,  and  May  1998  and 
either  the  State  or  the  Defense  had  reasons  to  seek  delays. 
The  prosecution  added  twenty-eight  new  witnesses,  and 
John  Henry  Browne  was  defending  another  high-profile 
case  in  Seattle.  He  argued  that  he  couldn't  possible  inter- 
view the  latest  witnesses  before  trial.  If  he  could  not  get  a 
continuance,  he  said  he  would  seek  a  review  by  the  state 
court  of  appeals. 

At  length,  a  fall  date  in  1 998  was  chosen  for  Teresa's 
trial.  Chuck  Leonard  had  been  dead  for  seventeen  months, 
and  there  had  been  no  justice  one  way  or  the  other  stem- 
ming from  his  murder.  Teresa's  psyche  was  deemed  so 
fragile  that  she  had  spent  many  weeks  in  late  spring  in 
Western  State  Hospital,  a  mental  health  treatment  facility, 
where  she  was  evaluated,  tested,  and  counseled  by  psy- 
chologists and  psychiatrists  there. 

She  was  given  an  IQ  test,  but  the  psychologist  adminis- 
trating the  test  noted  that  Teresa  failed  to  expand  on  her 
answers,  even  when  she  was  urged  to  do  so.  She  hurried 
through  questions,  and  by  the  end  of  the  test  had  stopped 
writing  down  answers  altogether.  It  wasn't  surprising  that 
her  full-scale  IQ  was  only  83.  This  put  her  in  about  the 
15th  percentile,  meaning  that  about  85  percent  of  people 
who  had  taken  the  test  scored  higher  than  she  did. 

How  could  that  be?  A  normal  IQ  (depending  on  the  test 

138 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

given)  is  between  90  and  1 10.  To  finish  a  four-year  college, 
most  students  need  an  IQ  of  at  least  120.  How  could  Teresa 
have  managed  a  busy  concierge  desk  at  a  large  hotel,  field- 
ing calls  and  requests  from  guests,  or  taken  care  of  all  the 
banking  and  record  keeping  at  The  Consignment  Shop  if 
her  IQ  was  only  83?  For  that  matter,  how  could  she  have 
been  so  clever  when  she  helped  the  female  detectives  fill  in 
their  crossword  puzzle  on  the  flight  home  from  Puerto 
Rico? 

Depression  certainly  can  lower  intelligence  scores,  but 
not  to  this  extent.  It  seemed  possible  that  Teresa  was  delib- 
erately trying  to  appear  a  lot  dumber  than  she  really  was. 

With  her  trial  looming  in  September,  Teresa  was  sent 
once  more  to  Western  State  Hospital  to  be  sure  she  was 
capable  of  participating  in  her  own  defense.  She  would 
remain  there  until  her  trial  began. 

On  September  8,  1998,  the  doctors  at  Western  State 
Hospital  determined  that  Teresa  was  competent  to  stand 
trial.  Her  day  in  court  had  been  postponed  six  times,  but 
now  it  was  time.  If  she  was  found  guilty,  Teresa  faced  a 
minimum  of  twenty-five  years  in  prison. 

The  Defense's  original  plan  had  been  to  show  that  she 
didn't  really  know  what  she  was  doing  when  she  shot 
Chuck  Leonard — ^that  she  was  insane  under  the  law.  Grad- 
ually, it  had  shifted,  and  with  her  competency  established, 
their  new  approach  was  to  show  a  jury  that  she  had  cause 
to  kill  her  estranged  husband,  that  almost  any  mother 
would  have  done  the  same.  Teresa,  they  would  argue,  had 
been  protecting  her  little  girl  from  a  sexually  abusive  fa- 
ther. If  so,  she  very  likely  had  been  suffering  from  post- 
traumatic stress  disorder  (PTSD). 

139 


ANN  RULE 

Although  PTSD  had  become  the  proper  term  for  the 
stress  reaction  during  the  Gulf  War,  the  concept  has  been 
around  for  decades,  affecting  those  caught  up  in  events 
"beyond  normal  human  experience."  War  isn't  normal  for 
most  young  soldiers  who  never  expected  to  shoot  to  kill. 
PTSD  was  called  "shell  shock"  in  World  War  I,  and  "battle 
fatigue"  in  World  War  II.  It  was  probably  called  something 
else  in  the  Civil  War  and  the  Revolutionary  War. 

There  are  other  events  that  can  be  construed  as  beyond 
normal  human  experience,  and  Teresa's  defense  team  be- 
lieved she  had  suffered  through  many  of  them,  enough  to 
cause  her  mind  to  splinter  into  too  many  shards  to  count. 

Teresa  told  some  of  her  doctors  that  her  father  had 
spanked  her  so  hard  when  she  was  a  child  that  she  had  been 
knocked  unconscious.  She  told  others  that  she  had  only  had 
the  wind  knocked  out  of  her. 

Her  sisters  agreed  to  come  from  Louisiana  to  testify 
about  the  sexual  abuse  in  their  home  when  they  were 
young.  Having  endured  sexual  abuse  herself,  wouldn't 
Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  have  been  even  more  horrified  to 
believe  that  her  own  child  was  suffering  as  she  had? 

In  similar  cases  across  the  United  States,  mothers  who 
have  shot  sex  offenders  who  molested  their  children  have 
either  been  acquitted  or  given  short  sentences.  And  the 
public — including  the  jurors — ^had  been  pulling  for  them. 
Most  would  agree  that  a  mother's  love  is  probably  the 
most  protective  and  unselfish  kind  of  love. 

The  Snohomish  County  investigators  hadn't  encoun- 
tered acquaintances  of  Teresa's  who  recalled  that  she  was 
concerned  about  Chuck  molesting  Morgan.  They  asked 


140 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

friends  and  relatives  of  the  couple  if  they  recalled  any  con- 
cern on  her  part  about  that. 

Chuck's  father  and  stepmother  said  that  Teresa  had 
complained  on  occasion  that  she  was  worried  because 
Chuck  sometimes  left  Morgan  alone  in  his  house  while  he 
worked  outside  in  the  yard.  But  they'd  never  heard  about 
any  suspected  sexual  abuse. 

Defense  investigators  found  employees  and  friends  of 
Teresa  who  recalled  that  there  were  times  when  Morgan 
didn't  want  to  go  to  her  father's  house.  She  told  Joyce 
Lilly  once  that  she  didn't  like  him  to  touch  her.  That  had 
occurred  when  she  wanted  to  call  her  mother  and  he 
wouldn't  let  her. 

There  was  an  occasion  when  she  left  The  Consignment 
Shop  with  Chuck,  but  had  come  running  back  in,  saying 
she  didn't  want  to  go.  That  was  in  one  of  Joyce's  state- 
ments, and  it  was  allegedly  the  reason  Joyce  and  Teresa 
had  given  Morgan  teddy  bears  with  their  phone  numbers 
hidden  in  their  pockets,  a  move  instigated  by  Teresa. 

A  woman  who  had  visited  Teresa's  shop  had  once  seen 
Morgan,  age  three  or  four,  climbing  under  clothing  racks 
without  underpants  on. 

Joyce  Lilly's  recall  of  Teresa  and  Chuck's  marriage,  and 
about  the  way  they  treated  Morgan,  was  often  one  of  con- 
fusion. Joyce,  who  was  very  modest,  questioned  Teresa 
about  why  Morgan  was  happier  without  a  lot  of  clothing 
on;  the  four-year-old  often  emulated  her  father,  dropping 
coats  and  shoes  fi-om  the  moment  she  walked  through  her 
own — or  Joyce's — front  door  and  dancing  around  happily. 
Teresa  had  pooh-poohed  her  concern. 


141 


ANN  RULE 

"We're  proud  of  our  bodies  in  my  family,"  Teresa  said 
calmly.  "We  don't  believe  in  false  modesty." 

On  the  other  hand.  Chuck  was  so  paranoid  that  Teresa 
might  accuse  him  of  something  that  he  had  Morgan  wear 
her  bathing  suit  when  he  gave  her  a  bath. 

Chuck's  friends  were  adamant  that  there  were  many 
times  Morgan  hadn't  wanted  to  go  to  Teresa's  house  when 
her  visit  with  her  father  was  over.  Chuck's  own  diaries  had 
passages  that  mentioned  days  when  Morgan  had  clung  to 
him  and  refused  to  go  with  Teresa.  Separation  and  divorce 
are  hard  on  children,  and  both  parents  were  known  to  in- 
dulge Morgan,  possibly  to  make  up  for  the  chaos  in  her 
young  life. 

She  was  a  very  intelligent  child  and,  like  most  children 
of  divorce,  Morgan  caught  on  quickly  that  she  could  play 
one  parent  against  another  to  get  what  she  wanted. 

Jan,  Chuck's  friend  and  neighbor  down  the  block,  was 
married  by  this  time  and  he  and  his  wife,  Sandy,  often 
babysat  for  Chuck.  Sandy  recalled  years  later,  "There  is  no 
way  that  little  girl  was  molested.  We  would  have  known 
because  we  spent  so  much  time  with  her." 

Brad  Pince  had  worked  for  years  investigating  sex 
crimes  against  children,  and  he  sincerely  doubted  that  Mor- 
gan had  suflfered  abuse.  If  Teresa  had  been  so  concerned 
about  it,  why  hadn't  she  mentioned  molestation  in  her  di- 
vorce filings?  Why  hadn't  she  reported  it  to  the  authorities? 
And  why  had  she  been  so  casual  about  having  at  least  one 
male  neighbor  in  her  apartment  building — whom  she 
didn't  know  well — babysit  for  Morgan?  It  didn't  add  up. 

Moreover,  Pince  knew  it  was  a  favorite  fall-back  ploy 
that  angry  estranged  wives  used  in  custody  wars:  when  all 

142 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

else  failed,  women  were  more  likely  to  accuse  their  exes  of 
abusing  their  children.  Of  course,  it  was  sometimes  true, 
but  it  was  a  fist  in  the  belly,  a  horrible  accusation,  espe- 
cially when  it  was  made  against  a  dead  man  who  could  no 
longer  defend  himself. 

Now  it  suddenly  popped  up  at  her  trial  like  an  ugly  toad- 
stool. From  what  Pince  and  the  other  investigators  had 
learned  about  Chuck  Leonard,  he  had  indeed  had  a  lively 
sex  life— but  with  adult  women,  who  seemed  to  understand 
that  he  was  not  interested  in  long-term  commitments. 

Chuck  idolized  his  little  girl  and  saw  himself  as  her 
protector.  As  Morgan  grew,  detectives  had  no  doubt  that 
Chuck  would  have  been  the  kind  of  dad  who  scrutinized 
and  intimidated  any  young  suitor  who  wanted  to  date  her. 

But  a  child  abuser?  An  incestuous  father?  Never. 

Teresa's  defense  stance  now  was  that  Chuck  was  sitting 
up  in  bed,  wide  awake,  on  the  night  he  died  and  they  were 
arguing.  She  had  gone  to  his  house  in  the  early  hours  of 
the  morning,  carrying  a  gun,  but  only  to  talk  to  him  about 
her  concerns,  and  he  had  taunted  her  about  Morgan.  Her 
reaction  was  to  shoot  him.  But  all  forensic  evidence  indi- 
cated he  had  been  lying  down,  sound  asleep,  when  the  first 
bullet  ripped  into  him. 


143 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 


Chuck  Leonard  was  a  vital,  popular  middle-school  counselor  who 

helped  scores  of  children  through  their  tough  teenage  problems. 

He  had  a  wide  circle  of  friends  and  many  women  were 

attracted  to  him.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Teresa  Gaethe  was  a  pretty  blonde,  always  Chuck's  preferred 

type,  and  they  met  romantically  in  New  Orleans. 

They  appeared  to  be  genuinely  in  love. 


''^ 


.-^^'^^. 


M 


m^H^ 


Chuck  and  Teresa  hit  it  off  so  well  in  New  Orleans  that  he  hated  to 

leave  her  behind  when  his  educational  conference  ended.  He  wrote 

to  her  constantly,  sending  loving  cards  and  flowers  from  his  garden 

in  Washington  State.  And  she  wrote  to  him  and  called  him.  They 

seemed  destined  to  be  together.  (Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Js^r^^y^f^*'  -;.'?>  * 


ir:lT-^i^.^^--M 


An  airplane  view  of  Chuck  Leonard's  Lake  Goodwin  neighborhood. 
It  was  the  ideal  place  to  live.  {Police  airphoto) 


Chuck  Leonard's 
neighbors  were  also 
friends.  His  next-door 
neighbor,  a  doctor, 
lived  in  the  house  on 
the  left,  and  the  house 
that  Chuck  built  is 
on  the  right.  (Police 
airphoto) 


The  lake  house  thai  Chuck  Leonard  enlarged  by  digging  out  the 

foundation.  His  house,  lawn,  and  garden  were  his  pride  and  joy, 

and  he  even  had  a  glass  floor  in  his  living  room.  He  invited  Teresa 

Gaethe  to  share  it  with  him.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Life  was  great  at  first  for  Chuck  and  Teresa,  although  he  wasn't 

anxious  to  get  married.  She  didn't  bond  nearly  as  well  with 

his  friends — especially  his  friends'  wives  and  fiancees. 

{Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Chuck  Leonard  smiles  at  his  wedding  reception  in  the  lake  house, 

but  the  celebration  became  a  fiasco  when  Teresa  asked  her  hired 

security  guards  to  throw  out  one  of  his  former  girlfriends.  Chuck 

had  seen  no  need  for  the  guards.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Despite  their  disastrous  wedding  reception,  Chuck  and  Teresa 

looked  happy  as  they  began  their  marriage,  lounging  on  the  beach. 

But  Chuck  had  told  one  of  his  friends  that  he  had  made  a 

"terrible  mistake."  He  was  determined  to  make  his  marriage 

last — if  he  could.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Whatever  problems  they  had  in  their  marriage,  both 

Chuck  and  Teresa  loved  their  daughter,  Morgan. 

Chuck  was  amazed  by  how  much  he  loved  the  little 

girl,  who  came  along  when  he  was  nearing  fifty. 

He  would  do  anything  to  see  that  she  stayed  in  his  life. 

They  both  loved  the  lake  he  lived  on,  and  Chuck  could 

not  bear  the  thought  that  she  would  be  taken  far 

away  from  him.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Teresa  had  a  fairly  successful  consignment  store  in  Marysville,      ■ 
selling  high-end  clothing  and  accessories.  She  painted  it  pink,  and      ' 
it  attracted  both  new  clients  and  her  former  customers  from 
the  Bon  Marche  department  store.  {Police  photo) 


I 


Teresa  told  her  former  husband  that  she  owned  an  "exclusive  boutique'" 

in  Washington  State,  a  description  that  seems  a  bit  grandiose  for  the  tin> 

frame  building.  She  also  worked  for  a  travel  agency  part-time. 

Later,  most  of  her  income  came  from  her  millionaire  lover. 

{Police  photo) 


After  Chuck's  tragic  death,  Teresa  was  asked  to  give  a  statement  to 

the  Snohomish  County  Sheriff's  detectives.  She  and  Chuck  had  been 

separated  for  a  few  years,  but  they  were  not  legally  divorced. 

They  also  shared  custody  of  Morgan.  {Police  photo) 


''*'^, 


Teresa  was  fortunate  to  have  one  of  Washington  State's 

most  successful  criminal  defense  attorneys  agree  to  defend  her. 

John  Henry  Browne,  however,  found  that  his  client's 

bizarre  actions  made  his  job  difficult. 

(Ann  Rule  Collection) 


Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  before  she  had  plastic  surgery. 
(Police  photo) 


Teresa  after  plastic  surgery — probably  on  her  nose  and  chin. 

If  she  had  turned  to  surgery  to  change  her  look,  it  didn't  work; 

she  looked  almost  the  same  afterward.  (Police  photo) 


-^^i. 


Detective  Brad  Pince  of  the  Snohomish  County  Sheriff's  Office  was 

in  charge  of  the  Chuck  Leonard  murder  investigation.  It  took  him  to 

California,  Hawaii,  and  even  Puerto  Rico,  but  he  gathered  enough 

evidence — both  physical  and  circumstantial — to  arrest  the  guilty 

person.  It  may  well  be  the  most  memorable  case  in  his  long  career. 

(Ann  Rule  Collection) 


Left  to  right:  Snohomish  County  Detective  Jim  Scharf  and  Senior 

Deputy  Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  worked  with  Brad  Pince  and 

Detective  John  Padilla  to  prove  that  an  almost  unbelievable  motive 

caused  the  murder  of  a  good  man.  Downes  helped  in  the  entire 

investigative  process.  (Ann  Rule  Collection) 


Detective  Brad  Pince  testifies  in  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard's  trial  as  he 
opens  sealed  evidence  packets.  {Theresa  Leonard  Collection) 


Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  in  a  photo  taken  after  being  in  the 

Washington  State  Women's  Prison  in  Purdy  for  several 
years.  Instead  of  designer  clothes,  she  wears  a  blue  denim 

uniform  and  a  white  T-shirt.  She  threw  away  what 

could  have  been  a  life  most  women  would  envy.  She  has 

not  seen  her  daughter,  Morgan,  or  a  picture  of  her  since 

Morgan  was  about  seven.  She  faces  many  more  years 

of  prison,  all  lost  because  of  her  deluded  scheme  that 

she  thought  would  let  her  marry  a  millionaire. 


Chapter  Eight 


Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard's  trial  before  Superior 
Court  Judge  Gerald  L.  Knight  promised  to  include  a  war 
of  the  psychiatrists  and  psychologists.  Theirs  was  far  from 
an  exact  science,  and  it  would  be  up  to  the  jury  to  decide 
who  to  believe.  John  Henry  Browne  maintained  that  Tere- 
sa's mental  state  had  deteriorated  markedly  since  Chuck 
Leonard  was  killed,  and  that  she  no  longer  had  any  clear 
memory  of  the  shooting,  and  that  she  never  planned  it. 

He  did  not  dispute  that  she  had,  indeed,  shot  and  killed 
Chuck  Leonard,  and  there  seemed  to  be  no  expectation 
that  she  could  be  found  innocent — but  she  could  be  con- 
victed of  lesser  offenses,  like  second-degree  murder  or 
manslaughter. 

Browne  was  a  master  debater,  and  a  genius  at  planning 
and  carrying  out  defense  strategy,  but  he  faced  an  uphill 
battle.  Michael  Downes,  prosecuting  for  the  State,  had  an 
abundance  of  physical  evidence  to  show  that  Teresa  had 
very  carefully  planned  Chuck's  murder. 

With  a  manslaughter  conviction,  Teresa  wouldn't  spend 
much  time  in  prison.  With  premeditation  and  a  first-degree 


145 


ANN  RULE 

conviction,  she  would  be  in  prison  until  her  hair  turned 
gray  and  her  face  was  lined  with  wrinkles. 

An  eleventh-hour  request  to  postpone  Teresa's  trial  once 
again  came  from  Deputy  Prosecutor  Michael  Downes.  He 
and  his  team  had  been  informed  that  John  Henry  Browne 
was  prepared  to  argue  an  additional  defense  for  Teresa — 
battered- woman  syndrome. 

Judge  Gerald  Knight  ruled  that  the  trial  would  go  for- 
ward as  planned  on  September  9  and  warned  Browne  not 
to  elicit  testimony  that  Teresa  was  a  battered  woman.  If  he 
did.  Knight  said  firmly  that  he  might  declare  a  mistrial. 

Some  in  the  courtroom  wondered  if  Chuck  Leonard 
might  be  considered  a  "battered  man,"  but  they  didn't  say 
it  out  loud. 

By  the  time  the  State  and  the  Defense  teams  agreed  on 
twelve  jurors  and  two  alternate  jurors  who  would  step  in  if 
any  of  the  original  dozen  should  become  ill  or  step  down, 
there  were  eleven  women  and  one  man  on  the  jury,  with 
two  male  alternate  jurors. 

It  was — and  is — always  difficult  to  say  whether  female 
jurors  will  empathize  with  a  woman  defendant.  Would 
this  jury,  perhaps,  judge  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  more 
harshly  because  they  knew  how  most  normal  women 
would  react?  Would  the  lone  male  see  Teresa  as  a  fright- 
ened, dependent  woman  in  trouble?  No  one  could  say.  The 
most  important  assets  good  jurors  can  have  is  the  ability 
to  listen  icarefully  to  witnesses  from  both  sides,  study  the 
physical  and  circumstantial  evidence,  and  eventually  vote 
their  consciences. 

What  would  the  eleven  women  on  Teresa's  jury  think? 
Many  of  them  had  children  and  understood  the  power  of 

146 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

mother  love.  Possibly  some  of  them  had  had  husbands 
who  had  strayed.  There  was  no  way  of  telling  whether  they 
would  view  Teresa  as  a  victim  and  a  heroine  or  as  a  hus- 
band-stealing plotter.  Jurors'  own  life  experiences  and  les- 
sons learned  cannot  be  excluded  from  their  decision 
making. 

That  may  well  be  a  juror's  strongest  talent.  That,  and 
the  ability  to  stay  awake  and  listen  carefiilly  for  six  or 
seven  hours  a  day.  Trials  can  be  exciting,  but  they  can  also 
be  dry  and  repetitive.  The  hours  after  lunch  in  a  stuffy 
courtroom  have  put  many  a  juror  to  sleep.  And  not  a  few 
journalists. 

One  thing  is  true  of  any  trial:  neither  the  judge,  the  at- 
torneys, the  gallery,  nor  the  defendant  has  ever  been  able 
to  read  a  jury  from  the  expression  on  their  faces  or  their 
body  language.  They  always  surprise  you  when  you  talk  to 
them  after  trial. 


For  the  first  time,  almost  all  of  the  people  who  had  passed 
through  Teresa's  life  walked  in  and  out  of  a  single  court- 
room: her  sisters  Lois  and  Macie,  but  not  her  brother; 
Nick  Callas,  but  not  Gary  Gaethe;  Joyce  Lilly,  Rick  Lilly, 
and  George  Bowden,  Joyce's  attorney;  Teresa's  employees 
at  The  Consignment  Shop,  women  who  had  been  her  "best 
friends"  for  a  while  and  then  been  dropped  from  her  life; 
George  Cody,  Teresa's  first  attorney;  Michelle  Conley, 
Chuck's  last  lover;  a  dozen  or  more  of  Chuck's  friends  and 
former  girlfriends;  Theresa  Leonard,  Chuck's  sister;  his 
father  and  stepmother,  Fred  and  Caroline  Leonard;  Doug 
Butler,  Chuck's  teacher  friend  who  had  found  his  body; 

•147 


ANN  RULE 

his  boyhood  friend  from  Bremerton  where  he  grew  up;  his 
friend  who  owned  a  video-rental  store;  and  the  detectives 
from  Snohomish  County  who  had  helped  bring  Teresa  to 
trial:  Brad  Pince,  John  Padilla,  Jim  Scharf,  Joe  Ward,  and 
Rob  Palmer. 

The  gallery  in  Judge  Knight's  courtroom  was  packed 
almost  every  day  in  September  and  October  as  the  weeks 
of  trial  unfolded.  Teresa's  story  was  like  a  teleplay  script 
for  a  miniseries,  only  more  shocking  because  it  was  real, 
and  because  it  had  happened  in  the  town  where  many  in 
the  gallery  lived.  They  had  followed  it  during  the  nineteen 
months  since  Chuck  Leonard  was  murdered,  and  wanted 
to  know  more  about  what  had  happened  and  why.  News- 
paper and  television  coverage  had  never  told  them  enough. 

That  wasn't  the  reporters'  fault;  so  many  details  had 
been  kept  under  wraps.  Now,  the  press  bench  held  media 
reporters  from  all  over  Washington  State. 

It  was  still  warm  in  mid-September  and  opening  win- 
dows helped  lower  the  stuffiness  and  heat  in  the  court- 
room, but  that  created  another  problem  as  street  noise 
drifted  in  and  made  it  difficult  for  the  jurors  to  hear  the 
witnesses  and  attorneys.  Sirens  from  emergency  vehicles 
often  brought  testimony  to  a  halt. 

Senior  Deputy  Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  asked  the 
jurors  to  raise  their  hands  if  they  couldn't  hear. 

Downes  then  began  his  opening  remarks,  explaining 
the  State's  case:  "The  evidence  the  State  will  present  to 
you  will  show  that  at  approximately  four  or  five  in  the 
morning  of  February  20,  of  1997,  the  defendant  drove 
twenty-five  miles  to  her  estranged  husband's  house,  that 
she  walked  into  his  house,  down  to  his  bedroom,  shot  and 

148 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

killed  him  with  a  .45 -caliber  automatic  handgun  by  shoot- 
ing him  three  times  in  the  chest  area.  The  fatal  wound  en- 
tered his  chest,  went  into  one  of  his  lungs,  and  he  bled  to 
death  internally  as  a  result.  .  .  ." 

Michael  Downes  knew  this  case  so  thoroughly  that  he 
probably  could  have  made  his  opening  statement  in  his 
sleep,  but  he  glanced  occasionally  at  his  notes.  The  jury 
listened  raptly  as  he  described  the  Leonards'  relationship 
at  the  time  Chuck  was  killed,  the  "rehearsal"  for  murder  in 
November  1996,  and  the  actual  fatal  shooting  three 
months  later.  Downes  promised  to  present  witnesses  to 
Teresa's  affair  with  Nick  Callas,  and  to  her  plot  to  find  a 
way  to  give  him  a  baby,  even  though  she  knew  she  could 
not  conceive  herself. 

"There  was  a  divorce  in  this  case,"  the  prosecutor 
pointed  out.  "It  was  filed.  The  paperwork  was  filed  by  the 
defendant.  She  filled  it  out.  There  are  various  boxes  that 
you  can  check  off  to  indicate  whether  there  are  any  partic- 
ular problems.  And  one  box  of  interest  is  whether  there  are 
any  child  abuse-type  problems.  That  was  not  checked  off. 
One  box  is  whether  there  were  physical  abuse-type  prob- 
lems [against  Teresa].  That  box  was  not  checked  off." 

But  these  were  allegedly  the  two  issues  that  had  moti- 
vated Teresa  to  kill  Chuck.  And  she  hadn't  even  mentioned 
them  when  she  filed  for  divorce! 

Downes  promised  to  call  to  the  witness  stand  two  men 
from  Teresa's  apartment  building  who  would  testify  that 
she  was  looking  for  a  .45-caliber  handgun  in  early  1997. 

He  told  the  jurors  about  Teresa's  Hawaiian  lover,  and 
the  $500,000  bail  money  Nick  Callas  had  wired  to  the 
Snohomish  County  Clerk's  Office.  "Part  of  the  bail  order 

149 


ANN  RULE 

says,  'Look,  if  you  get  released,  you  got  to  come  back  here 
for  the  hearings.'  And  the  defendant  was  advised  of  that 
when  the  hearings  were  set — pretrial  hearing,  trial  hear- 
ings, things  like  that.  In  September,  she  was  advised  that 
she  had  to  be  present  at  a  pretrial  hearing  on  December  4, 
1997.  And  on  December  4,  everybody  showed  up  for  the 
hearing — except  for  the  defendant.  She  had  left  the  conti- 
nental United  States  on  an  American  Airlines  flight,  under 
a  false  name,  having  paid  cash  for  the  ticket,  and  flew  to 
Puerto  Rico." 

Michael  Downes  told  the  jury  about  Teresa's  second 
drug  overdose  in  four  months,  and  how  Snohomish  County 
detectives  had  gone  to  Puerto  Rico  to  bring  her  back. 

Downes  said  he  was  prepared  to  present  physical  evi- 
dence that  would  prove  the  bullets  that  killed  Chuck  Leon- 
ard had  been  fired  by  the  gun  that  Teresa  gave  to  her 
friend,  Joyce  Lilly,  to  hide  a  few  hours  after  his  murder. 
Teresa's  sweatpants,  also  hidden  by  Joyce,  had  a  splotch  of 
blood  that  tested  as  being  consistent  with  Chuck's  blood, 
and,  in  the  crotch,  body  fluids  that  matched  Teresa's. 

"You  may,  during  the  course  of  this  case,  hear  evidence 
about  a  mental  defense  phrased  two  different  ways.  One  is 
referred  to  as  'diminished  capacity,'  and  the  other  is  re- 
ferred to  as  'insanity.' " 

Diminished  capacity  is  often  the  defendant's  personal 
choice — in  taking  drugs,  drinking  alcohol,  or  participating 
in  other  activities  that  render  them  temporarily  incapable  of 
employing  their  usual  decision  making.  On  occasion,  it  can 
be  used  when  a  defendant  is  developmentally  disabled. 
Legal  insanity  can  render  them  unable  to  tell  the  difference 
between  right  and  wrong.  But  Teresa  had  planned  Chuck's 

150 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

murder,  and  she  had  also  planned  her  alibi  and  hidden  any 
evidence  that  might  tie  her  to  the  homicide. 

She  had  to  have  known  the  difference  between  right 
and  wrong,  or  she  wouldn't  have  tried  so  hard  to  disassoci- 
ate herself  from  Chuck's  death, 

Downes  said  that  Joyce  Lilly  would  testify  that,  on  two 
occasions,  Morgan  had  commented  to  her  that  she  didn't 
"like  the  way  Daddy  touched  me."  But  he  also  pointed  out 
that  both  times  were  after  Chuck  had  refused  to  let  Mor- 
gan call  her  mother. 

"Joyce  Lilly  did  relate  that  to  the  defendant,  and  the  de- 
fendant didn't  have  any  particular  reaction  to  it  at  the  time; 
she  didn't  have  any  questions  to  ask  Ms.  Lilly." 

If  Teresa  was  so  horrified  at  the  possibility  that  her 
daughter  had  been  molested  by  her  ex-husband  at  that 
time,  why  hadn't  she  shown  some  emotion?  Why  didn't 
she  pursue  the  subject  and  ask  her  friend  Joyce  exactly 
what  Morgan  had  said?  Why  didn't  she  file  for  sole  cus- 
tody? 

John  Henry  Browne  spoke  next,  laying  out  the  Defense 
approach.  He  unfolded  his  tall  frame  from  his  chair  at  the 
Defense  table,  and  he  smiled  at  the  jurors.  His  approach  to 
them  was  folksy,  akin  to  "We're  all  in  this  together." 

"This  is  not  an  argument,"  he  began.  "If  anything  I  say 
sounds  like  an  argument,  I'm  sure  I'll  get  objected  to." 

Browne  is  very  good  with  jurors,  and  occasionally  an 
irritant  to  judges  and  opposing  attorneys.  He  can  be  senti- 
mental or  a  fierce  fighter  for  his  clients.  He  now  began 
with  the  part  of  this  tragic  case  that  had  affected  him  the 
most.  He  hoped  that  he  wouldn't  have  to  call  Morgan 
Leonard  as  a  witness. 

151 


ANN  RULE 

So  did  deputy  prosecutor  Michael  Downes.  Everyone 
involved  with  this  case  felt  the  same  way. 

"This  case  is  about  'Punky,'  "  Browne  told  the  jury. 
"Punky  is  Morgan  Leonard.  She's  almost  seven  years  old. 
Shortly  before  Mr.  Leonard's  death,  these  two  teddy  bears 
[he  held  them  up]  were  given  to  Punky  by  Joyce  Lilly  and 
Teresa  Leonard,  and  inside  each  teddy  bear  was  a  tele- 
phone number — one  for  Teresa  and  one  for  Joyce." 

Brown  explained  that  Punky  had  told  Joyce  that  she 
"didn't  like  the  way  her  daddy  touched  her,  didn't  like 
sleeping  in  bed  with  Daddy  and  his  girlfriend,  didn't 
like  sleeping  next  to  the  floor,  and  didn't  like  the  fact  that 
Daddy  wouldn't  let  her  call  Mommy." 

The  foundation  of  the  Defense  case  emerged  early.  Te- 
resa Gaethe-Leonard  was  portrayed  by  her  attorney  as  a 
woman  who  had  survived  a  brutal  childhood  with  sexual, 
physical,  and  emotional  abuse.  To  deal  with  that,  Browne 
suggested  that  Teresa  had  learned  to  compartmentalize  her 
memories,  feelings,  and  events. 

"Your  life  is  so  difficult  that  you  shut  it  off,"  he  said. 
"You  put  it  into  a  little  box,  you  put  it  on  the  wall,  you 
close  the  door.  And  unless  you  get  treatment,  which  Teresa 
did  not,  it  stays  in  the  boxes  and  it's  very  hard  for  it  to 
come  out." 

Teresa  had,  Browne  said,  grown  up  to  marry  first  to  get 
out  of  her  family  home,  was  divorced  from  her  first  hus- 
band, and  then  met  Chuck  Leonard.  Now,  the  dead  victim 
in  this  case  emerged  looking  like  the  villain — a  cheating 
husband,  wife  abuser,  child  abuser,  a  man  who  had  wanted 
his  wife  to  abort  her  pregnancy,  and  as  Teresa's  attorney 
described  him,  almost  deserving  of  death. 

152 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Teresa  had  told  John  Henry  Browne  that  when  she  con- 
fronted Chuck  in  the  wee  hours  of  February  20  Chuck  was 
awake  and  sitting  up  in  bed  when  she  arrived.  She  had  ac- 
cused him  of  sexually  touching  his  daughter.  Teresa  had 
decided  that  she  wasn't  going  to  let  what  happened  to  her 
happen  to  her  daughter.  Although  she  couldn't  really  recall 
what  happened  that  night,  she  knew  she  had  gone  to 
Chuck's  house  to  confront  him — to  say:  "I  know  what's 
going  on,  and  she  [Morgan]  was  never  coming  back  to  his 
house." 

"That,"  Browne  said,  "was  the  last  thing  she  remembers." 

He  had  failed  to  add  something  important,  and  now  he 
added  it.  Teresa  had  recalled  something  more.  "By  the 
way,  Chuck  Leonard  said  to  Teresa,  T'm  sorry,  I'm  sorry, 
I'm  sorry.' " 

Browne  assured  the  jurors  in  his  opening  remarks  that 
he  would  produce  psychiatrists  and  psychologists  who 
would  testify  that  Teresa  met  the  criteria  of  both  legal  in- 
sanity and  diminished  capacity. 

And  he  ended  with  a  description  of  a  woman  who  no 
longer  wanted  to  live.  "Teresa  doesn't  want  to  be  here. 
Teresa  wants  to  be  dead.  She's  tried  that  twice  now.  She 
doesn't  want  to  be  here  because  she  views,  in  her  mind — 
the  only  thing  that  matters  to  her  in  her  whok  life  is  Mor- 
gan. And  when  Teresa  talks  to  you  and  when  she  talks  to 
me,  it's:  'Morgan's  dead  in  my  mind.  She  has  to  be  dead. 
Therefore,  I  don't  want  to  be  alive.' 

"I  have  faith  that  the  system  will  work.  I  have  faith  that 
you'll — with  everything  you  see  and  hear — come  to  the 
right  result." 

The  jurors  filed  out  for  a  break.  Brad  Pince  noticed  how 

153 


ANN  RULE 

emotional  and  despondent  Teresa  seemed  when  they  were 
present,  but,  when  they  left,  she  immediately  sat  up 
straight,  and  when  she  turned  to  smile  at  her  sisters  in  the 
gallery,  there  were  no  tears  in  her  eyes. 

And  so  it  began.  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  might  be  cold- 
hearted,  scheming,  money-hungry,  a  duplicitous  woman 
who  really  hated  the  men  she  had  professed  to  love  and 
used  them  only  as  stepping-stones  on  her  way  up.  There 
would  be  witnesses  to  describe  her  intricate  plans  to  kill 
Chuck  Leonard,  to  obtain  a  high-caliber  weapon  and  a  dis- 
guise, and  to  draw  in  her  best  friend  to  help  cover  for  her. 

And  there  would  be  others  who  saw  her  as  an  ultimate 
victim  who  had  done  what  she  believed  she  had  to  do  to 
save  her  child,  and  done  so  when  she  wasn't  in  her  right 
mind.  They  believed  that  Teresa  had  a  mission  in  life,  and 
that  was  to  protect  Morgan. 


Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  was  a  highly  emotional  defendant, 
often  breaking  into  sobs.  She'd  been  found  competent  to 
participate  in  her  own  defense  and  to  stand  trial,  but  she 
had  spent  the  weeks  before  trial  at  Western  State  Hospital, 
because  the  Defense  team  felt  she'd  had  "a  very  tough 
time"  in  the  Snohomish  County  Jail. 

On  the  fifth  day  of  testimony — September  15 — she  was 
more  upset  than  usual.  Considering  the  witnesses,  that 
wasn't  surprising.  On  that  morning,  Michelle  Conley — 
Chuck  Leonard's  last  serious  lover — took  the  stand  to  de- 
scribe the  night  in  November  1996  when  someone  crept 
into  his  bedroom. 

That  part  of  Michelle's  testimony  didn't  bother  Teresa 

154 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

too  much,  but  when  John  Henry  Browne  cross-examined 
her,  Teresa's  whole  body  tensed. 

"Did  you  ever  see  photographs  in  the  house  of — naked 
photographs  of  Chuck  and  Morgan?" 

"No." 

"Did  you  see  some  adult  video  tapes  in  the  house?" 

"Yes." 

"Approximately  how  many?" 

"There  were  several." 

"And  you,"  Browne  asked,  "as  I  understand  it,  just  saw 
snippets  of  one?" 

"Correct." 

"There  were  times  when  Morgan  spent  the  night  at 
Chuck's  house  and  you  were  there,  right?  And  you  spent 
the  night  with  them,  and  all  thi*ee  of  you  slept  in  the  bed 
together?" 

"Yes." 

"And  you  told  us  that  you  might  have  had  just  T-shirts 
on  when  that  happened?" 

"No,  we  had  [all  our]  clothes  on." 

Michelle  could  not  say  that  she  saw  Teresa  in  the  car 
she  followed  that  creepy  night  in  November — but  she  rec- 
ognized the  car. 

"When's  the  last  time  you  saw  Morgan?"  Browne  asked 
suddenly. 

"Day  before  yesterday." 

Teresa's  tormented  wail  echoed  off  the  courtroom 
walls.  She  hadn't  had  any  contact  with  her  daughter  for 
more  than  a  year.  She  began  crying  softly. 

Browne  pushed  ahead.  "You  remain  close  to  Morgan, 
don't  you?" 

155 


ANN  RULE 

"Yes." 

"In  fact,  Morgan  refers  to  you  as  her  other  mommy, 
right?" 

"Yes" 

Judge  Knight  called  a  recess.  Teresa  seemed  too  upset 
to  continue.  Her  daughter  had  two  mother  figures,  and 
neither  one  was  her.  But  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  was  an 
accomplished  actress  who  was  chameleonlike  when  she 
dealt  with  lovers,  friends,  and  sometimes  strangers. 

The  irony  was  apparent.  Teresa  still  had  a  living  child, 
and  there  was  always  the  possibility  that  she  would  one 
day  regain  custody  of  her.  If  she  were  found  insane  at  the 
time  of  Chuck's  murder,  she  wasn't  likely  to  go  to  prison; 
she  would  be  sent  to  Western  State  Hospital  for  treatment, 
and  it  was  possible  she  would  be  released  when  she  was 
deemed  to  be  in  her  right  mind. 

Michelle  Conley  had  lost  the  man  she  loved.  Forever. 
But  Michelle  had  always  cared  about  Morgan,  and  even 
though  Chuck  was  gone,  she  never  thought  of  abandoning 
his  little  girl. 

Teresa's  life — the  life  she  could  have  had — was  passing 
before  her  eyes.  She  may  well  have  been  crying  for  herself 
and  no  one  else. 


That  Tuesday  in  September  was  going  to  get  harder.  Nick 
Callas  was  scheduled  to  testify  in  the  State's  case  against 
his  former  mistress. 

But  it  was  obvious  from  the  way  he  looked  at  Teresa 
that  he  still  cared  about  her.  Romantics  might  call  them 
star-crossed  lovers;  realists  would  say  their  affair  was  built 

156 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

on  deceit  and  lies  and  was  bound  to  disintegrate  into  dust. 
Even  though  Nick's  marriage  had  ended,  and  Teresa  had 
cost  him  tens  of  thousands  of  dollars  while  they  were  lov- 
ers, and,  technically,  $500,000  when  she  ran  to  Puerto 
Rico,  she  still  seemed  to  have  a  hold  over  him. 

Answering  Michael  Downes's  questions,  the  handsome 
Greek  real  estate  entrepreneur  said  he'd  first  met  Teresa 
eleven  years  earlier — in  1987 — when  she'd  come  to  his 
office  on  Maui  looking  for  a  rental  property  with  a  girl- 
friend. 

"Do  you  see  her  present?" 

Callas  looked  at  the  Defense  table,  his  eyes  meeting 
Teresa's. 

"She's  sitting  right  there." 

They  sat  a  dozen  feet  apart,  but  it  was  like  a  thousand 
miles.  Callas  said  the  relationship  that  began  in  a  busi- 
nesslike manner  had  soon  become  romantic,  and,  in  1987, 
they  were  together  as  lovers  for  a  little  less  than  six 
months. 

"Was  there  something  that  caused  it  to  end  for  that 
time?"  Downes  asked. 

"Yes  . . .  Teresa  left  the  island." 

That  seemed  to  be  the  end  of  that,  although  Callas  said 
they  had  occasionally  talked  on  the  phone,  and  Teresa  had 
sent  him  cards.  He  could  not  recall  writing  to  her.  He  had 
heard  from  her  again  after  she  moved  from  New  Orleans 
to  Washington  State  in  1989  or  1990. 

"Did  you  and  Teresa  Leonard  resume  your  romantic  re- 
lationship at  some  point?" 

"Yes— in  March  of  1995." 

Teresa  had  written  to  Callas  even  before  she  moved  out 

157 


ANN  RULE 

of  Chuck's  house;  they  were  still  married.  She  had  obvi- 
ously wanted  another  man  to  jump  to  before  she  cut  her 
ties  with  Chuck. 

Even  though  Callas  was  married  in  1989  and  had  an 
adopted  son,  he  could  not  resist  seeing  Teresa  again.  He 
sent  tickets  for  both  herself  and  Joyce  Lilly,  and  Joyce  had 
watched  them  kiss  within  moments  after  Nick  came  to  the 
condo  that  first  night.  It  had  been  eight  years  since  they 
had  seen  each  other. 

Callas  testified  that  after  that  first  meeting,  Teresa  flew 
to  Maui  regularly  every  few  months.  By  June  1995,  he  had 
begun  to  send  her  money — between  $1,000  and  $1,500  a 
month;  he  managed  that  by  writing  checks  on  his  many 
different  condo  accounts,  staggering  them  so  that  there 
were  never  too  many  checks  from  any  particular  account. 

"Did  you  and  she  go  other  places  together?"  Downes 
asked. 

"We  had  three  trips  together.  One  was  to  Jackson  Hole, 
Wyoming;  one  was  to  Whistler  in  Canada;  and  the  third 
was  to  Campbell  River,  British  Columbia." 

They  had  gone  to  ski,  and  their  trips  lasted  six  to  nine 
days. 

"Who  paid  for  all  these  trips?" 

"I  did." 

Callas  estimated  his  net  worth  as  $2  million,  and  he 
testified  that  he  had  no  annual  income  because  everything 
he  made  was  plowed  back  into-his  business. 

"Okay,"  Downes  said.  "Was  it  a  struggle  for  you  to  pay 
for  the  defendant's  trip  to  Hawaii.  .  .  .  Was  it  a  struggle  for 
you  to  allow  her  to  use  a  condominium  rent-free?" 


158 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"No  .  .  .  no." 

'Beyond  all  the  perks  Teresa  was  already  receiving 
from  Nick,  there  was  one  he  didn't  know  about. 

"Are  you  aware  that  the  defendant  had  an  American 
Express  card  for  her  consignment  shop  with  the  name 
'Nick  Callas'  on  it?" 

"I  wasn't  then;  I  am  now." 

Painstakingly,  Michael  Downes  went  over  a  long  list  of 
checks  sent  to  Teresa  by  the  witness  and  a  list  of  payments 
made  to  various  American  Express  cards  that  Teresa  was 
using.  Callas  estimated  that  he  had  talked  to  Teresa  up  to 
ten  times  a  day  during  the  two  years  their  affair  had 
burned  most  intensely.  Asked  by  Downes  to  come  up  with 
the  total  number  of  phone  calls  the  two  of  them  had  shared 
over  two  years,  Callas  guessed  it  would  be  seven  thousand 
or  more. 

It  was  time  for  the  noon  break,  and  Nick  Callas  ap- 
peared relieved  to  step  down  from  the  stand.  Still,  he  would 
have  to  continue  in  the  afternoon. 

Although  his  phone  records  indicated  that  there  had 
been  up  to  five  phone  calls  from  Teresa  to  Callas  or  from 
him  to  her  on  February  20,  1997,  Nick  Callas  didn't  re- 
member them.  At  some  point  that  day  or  during  the  next 
few  days,  Teresa  told  him  that  Chuck  had  died  of  "pro- 
found trauma  "  but  she  didn't  go  into  detail. 

"I  interpreted  [that]  as  if  there  was  a  collision  with  a 
tree."  Callas  testified.  "That  was  my  mental  image." 

Teresa  had  told  him  that  Chuck  had  died  suddenly,  but 
he  had  to  look  on  the  Internet  to  find  out  he  had  been  mur- 
dered, shot  three  times.  When  he  learned  that  Chuck  had 


159 


ANN  RULE 

been  murdered  and  Teresa  had  been  arrested,  Callas  had 
begun  to  pay  legal  expenses  for  his  mistress.  He  thought 
the  initial  costs  were  about  $22,000. 

The  strain  was  beginning  to  show  on  Nick  Callas 's  face, 
and  it  was  about  to  become  more  intense.  State's  Exhibits 
No.  1 1 5  and  No.  1 16  were  the  two  cards  Teresa  had  given 
to  him  in  midsummer  1997. 

Although  they  weren't  dated,  Callas  thought  Teresa  had 
handed  them  to  him  in  her  apartment  in  Lynnwood,  Wash- 
ington. These  were  the  cards  his  wife  had  found  among 
his  business  papers.  But  Downes  didn't  ask  Callas  about 
the  cards — not  yet. 

"Would  you  say  that  you  were  the  defendant's  best 
friend?"  he  asked  instead. 

'T  was  certainly  one  of  her  best  friends,  or  I  felt  I  was 
one  of  her  best  friends,  yes." 

"Prior  to  the  time  of  Chuck  Leonard's  demise,"  Mi- 
chael Downes  asked,  "did  the  defendant  ever  tell  you  that 
he  had  been  physically  or  sexually  abusive  to  Morgan?" 

"No." 

Odd.  If  Nick  was  Teresa's  lover  and  probably  her  "best 
friend,"  and  she  was  desperately  worried  about  Morgan's 
safety,  why  hadn't  she  confided  in  him? 

There  were  so  many  people  she  could  have  told — if  it 
was  true.  But  the  subject  of  abuse  to  Morgan  hadn't  really 
come  up,  except  obliquely  to  Joyce  Lilly,  until  Teresa 
needed  a  good  defense. 

Callas  answered  Downes 's  queries  about  when  and  how 
he  had  learned  that  Teresa  had  fled  in  December  1997. 

"I  called  her  cell  phone  number  and  received  a  Spanish- 
speaking  default  message,  and  found  a  cell  phone  techno- 

160 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

logical  person  who  researched  it  for  me.  He  told  me  that  the 
cell  phone  had  been  turned  on  in  Puerto  Rico." 

"Had  you  had  some  concerns  for  some  time  prior  to 
this  Spanish-speaking  message  that  you  might  have  a 
problem  on  your  hands  as  it  related  to  your  $500,000?" 
Downes  asked. 

"Yes. ...  It  was  the  end  of  November — I  don't  recall  any 
specific  day — ^when  the  communication  between  Teresa  and 
me  broke  down,  and  I  was  no  longer  able  to  speak  with  her 
when  I  wanted  to,  nor  was  she  calling  me  frequently.  That 
wasn't  normal.  It  also  wasn't  the  arrangement  or  agreement 
[between  us].  At  that  point,  I  became  concerned." 

Nick  Callas  testified  that  he  hired  an  attorney  to  repre- 
sent his  interests  regarding  the  bail  money  after  someone 
told  him  Teresa  had  had  plastic  surgery  and  her  eyes  were 
black  postoperatively.  Teresa's  younger  sister,  Macie,  was 
visiting  Teresa's  home  in  Everett  that  November.  Nick 
Callas  had  called  her  to  see  how  Teresa  was,  and  she  men- 
tioned then  that  Teresa  had  cut  her  hair. 

Callas  had  even  contacted  George  Cody,  Teresa's  first 
attorney,  and  asked  him  if  she'd  changed  her  features  with 
plastic  surgery.  Cody  was  noncommittal.  He  said  he  hadn't 
seen  Teresa  since  early  November  1997. 

Nor  had  Nick. 

And  then  he  had  tracked  her  to  Puerto  Rico,  finally  re- 
alizing that  she  had  broken  her  promises  to  him  and  left 
him  responsible  for  the  huge  bail  she  forfeited. 

John  Henry  Browne  began  his  cross-examination  by 
asking  Nick  Callas  to  read  aloud  portions  of  the  sentimen- 
tal cards  Teresa  had  given  him.  The  witness  began,  his 
voice  filled  with  emotion: 

161 


ANN  RULE 

'"Nick,  you  give  me  peace  that  I've  never  had.  Thank 
you  for  you.'" 

Callas  looked  up,  tears  gUstening  in  his  eyes,  and  with 
his  voice  breaking  he  said,  "I  don't  know  if  I  can  do  this." 

"Well,"  Browne  said,  "take  a  minute.  Wait  a  minute, 
Nick.  Why  don't  you  just  read  it  over  to  yourself.  Is  there 
something  in  that  card  that  indicates — " 

"I  haven't  finished  yet.  I'm  sorry,"  Callas  said.  Tears 
now  spilled  from  his  eyes  and  ran  down  his  cheeks.  He 
took  a  deep  breath  and  started  the  next  sentence:  "  T  know 
I  have  caused  you  pain,  and  I  cannot  tell  you  how  sorry  I 
am  for  that.  The  outside  world — '  " 

Nick  Callas  could  not  continue,  and  asked  if  he  could 
leave  the  courtroom  to  gather  his  emotions.  Judge  Knight 
nodded.  When  he  returned,  he  was  able  to  get  through  the 
words  that  Teresa  had  written,  private  and  personal  words 
his  wife  had  read,  that  now  a  gallery  full  of  strangers  and 
court  personnel  listened  to.  He  had  been  touched  by  those 
two  cards  and  believed  that  Teresa  really  was  grateful  for 
everything  he'd  done  for  her — before  and  after  Chuck's 
murder. 

Reading  them  again  tore  him  up  emotionally. 

John  Henry  Browne  asked  him  about  Teresa's  overdose 
in  August  1997,  and  Callas  recalled  that  it  had  happened 
shortly  after  she  was  told  she  could  no  longer  have  her 
weekly  phone  calls  to  her  daughter:  "She  was  expecting 
to,  and  excited  to  speak  with  Morgan  on  that  Wednesday 
and  getting  prepared  for  it,  and  either  she  made  a  call  to 
set  it  up  or  they  called  her  and  said  she  wouldn't  be  al- 
lowed to  speak  with  Morgan  again." 


162 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

"Can  you  tell  the  .  .  .  jury  your  understanding  of  Tere- 
sa's relationship  with  Morgan?"  Browne  probed. 

Nick  Callas  nodded.  Even  though  he  had  never  laid 
eyes  on  Morgan  himself,  or,  for  that  matter,  seen  Teresa 
interact  with  her  child,  he  had  observed  Teresa's  feelings 
for  her. 

"All  mothers  love  their  children,"  he  began,  "love  their 
children,  but  Teresa  loved  Morgan  in  a  different  way.  I  re- 
ally don't  know  how  to  describe  it.  It's  hard  to  say  that  one 
parent  can  love  their  daughter  or  son  more  than  another 
parent,  but  Teresa's  life  was  dedicated  to  Morgan  .  .  .  one 
hundred  percent  of  the  time  Teresa  does  something  for 
Morgan  without  doing  something  for  herself  I  know  that's 
why  I  sent  money  to  her." 

"Were  there  ever  any  discussions  between  you  and  Te- 
resa about  getting  married?"  Browne  asked. 

"No." 

"Did  you  have  any  feeling  that  Teresa  was  unhappy 
with  the  relationship  the  way  it  was?" 

"No." 

"Were  there  any  plans  for  Teresa  and  Morgan  to  move 
to  Hawaii?" 

"No." 

"Did  you  have  any  plans  to  divorce  Grace?" 

"No." 

Callas  seemed  to  have  been  completely  unaware  of 
Teresa's  plans  to  come  to  Hawaii,  marry  him,  arrange  to 
give  him  his  own  child — even  if  it  took  a  surrogate 
mother  to  carry  it.  With  questioning  from  both  Michael 
Downes  and  John  Henry  Browne,  Nick  Callas 's  male 


163 


ANN  RULE 

parts  were  discussed  in  open  court.  He  explained  why  he 
was  completely  unable  to  provide  healthy  sperm  to  his 
wife  or  to  any  other  woman.  It  was  obvious  that  this  was 
information  Teresa  was  hearing  for  the  first  time.  Shock 
washed  across  her  face,  although  she  quickly  masked  it. 

Teresa's  pie-in-the-sky  plans  had  been  just  that.  There 
was  no  way  she  could  have  had  a  child  with  Nick — none 
at  all.  He  believed  she  was  a  wonderful,  unselfish  mother, 
but  he  had  never  met  Morgan,  never  seen  her  beyond  a 
photograph.  He  hadn't  known  that  Teresa  was  determined 
to  marry  him.  There  were  so  many  things  he  hadn't  known 
about  her. 

Finally,  after  hours  of  torturous  testimony,  Nick  Callas 
was  allowed  to  step  down. 

Joyce  Lilly  testified  about  the  early  morning  hours  of 
February  20.  The  jury  listened  avidly  as  she  told  them 
what  Teresa  had  said  about  "whacking"  Chuck,  her  "mur- 
der costume,"  and  how  she — Joyce — had  been  stuck  with 
the  physical  evidence  of  the  murder,  right  down  to  the  .45 
automatic,  the  bullets,  and  the  key  to  Chuck's  house. 

She  was  an  emotional  witness.  It  was  plain  that  she 
would  rather  have  been  anywhere  but  in  the  witness  chair, 
still  half  guilty  about  betraying  her  old  friend.  Even  so, 
Joyce  had  no  other  choice. 


The  question  that  hung  in  the  air  concerned  two  possible 
witnesses — Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard,  herself,  and  Morgan 
"Punky"  Leonard.  It  is  almost  always  unwise  for  murder 
defendants  to  take  the  witness  stand.  In  doing  so,  they 


164 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

open  themselves  up  to  cross-examination  by  the  State  with 
questions  they  might  not  care  to  answer. 

Although  she  was  a  very  intelligent  little  girl,  Morgan 
was  only  six.  She  had  been  through  so  much,  and  neither 
Michael  Downes  nor  John  Henry  Browne  wanted  to  bring 
her  into  this  trial.  Downes  weighed  whether  he  would  have 
to  do  it  to  assure  that  Morgan's  father  received  the  justice 
he  deserved. 

Teresa  sobbed  at  the  thought  of  Morgan  testifying,  and 
said  she  would  plead  guilty  before  she  let  that  happen. 

In  the  end,  neither  mother  nor  daughter  testified. 

There  was  much  discussion  about  a  film  Chuck  Leonard 
had  taken  with  fraines  that  showed  his  daughter.  When  it 
finally  was  shown,  it  was  anticlimactic;  it  turned  out  to  be  a 
long,  boring  home  movie  with  nothing  more  salacious  than 
a  tiny  girl  in  a  play  pool. 

Teresa — along  with  her  sisters  who  were  there  to  support 
her — cried  periodically  throughout  her  three-week  trial, 
giving  some  credence  to  the  Defense  contention  that  she 
was  mentally  ill  and  had  been  insane  at  the  time  she  shot 
Chuck  Leonard. 

Now  came  the  battle  of  the  psychologists  and  psychia- 
trists. Listening  to  and  evaluating  testimony  by  mental 
health  professionals  is  often  supremely  frustrating,  gener- 
ally because  they  tend  to  use  terms  unfamiliar  to  laymen 
and  even  to  those  with  quite  a  bit  of  knowledge  about 
mental  illness  and  personality  disorders.  Moreover,  they 
often  waffle  and  seem  unable  to  give  a  straight-out  diag- 
nosis. That  was  certainly  true  of  those  who  testified  at 
Teresa's  trial. 


165 


ANN  RULE 

None  of  them  appeared  to  have  brought  their  records 
on  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  to  court  with  them.  They  often 
couldn't  recall  dates  or  seemed  surprised  when  they 
learned  that  some  of  the  things  Teresa  had  told  them 
weren't  true. 

One  psychiatrist  estimated  that  the  defendant  had  un- 
dergone about  fifty  emotional,  intelligence,  and  sanity 
tests,  and  seen  more  psychiatric  experts  than  anyone  could 
count. 

Some  who  testified  hadn't  seen  Teresa  in  a  year  or  more. 
The  trial  transcripts  show  that  none  of  these  witnesses 
would  say  definitively  that  Teresa  had  a  low  IQ  or  an  aver- 
age IQ — even  though  her  test  results  indicated  her  score 
was  only  83.  Nor  would  any  experts  say  absolutely  that  she 
was  malingering  or  suffering  from  real  post-traumatic 
stress  disorder,  or  even  if  her  "hallucinations"  were  actual 
or  contrived. 

One  psychiatrist — who  had  seen  Teresa  for  approxi- 
mately six  two-hour  sessions — testified  that  she  had  be- 
come depressed  when  her  marriage  faltered  in  1 99 1 ,  and 
that  depression  reached  "clinical  proportions"  by  the  fall 
of  1 996 — approximately  when  Teresa  did  her  dry-run  with 
a  borrowed  gun. 

As  this  doctor  spoke,  Teresa  bowed  her  head  and 
rocked  slightly  in  her  chair.  She  turned  often  to  look  back 
at  her  sisters  in  the  gallery;  they,  too,  were  tearful. 

She  had  told  this  psychiatrist  that  she  finally  became 
depressed  enough  to  fly  off  to  Puerto  Rico  because  she'd 
received  a  box  containing  all  the  cards  and  presents — still 
unwrapped — that  she'd  sent  to  Morgan  at  her  aunt  There- 
sa's address.  But  that  wasn't  true;  Theresa  testified  that 

166 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Morgan  had  opened  all  the  presents  and  cards,  and  that 
she  still  had  them  and  knew  her  mother  had  sent  them. 

This  psychiatrist  for  the  defense  said  that  Teresa  had 
only  sparse  memories  of  driving  to  Chuck's  house  on  the 
night  he  died  or  of  what  had  happened  while  she  was 
there.  He  testified  that  he  believed  Teresa  was  psychotic 
at  the  time  she  shot  Chuck  and  suffering  from  acute 
stress. 

That  diagnosis,  however,  seemed  at  war  with  Teresa's 
November  late-night  visit  to  Chuck's  bedroom  when  she 
was  armed  with  a  borrowed  gun.  One  had  to  wonder  if  she 
had  been  insane  then,  too,  regained  her  sanity,  and  then 
lost  contact  with  reality  once  more  three  months  later. 
Both  forays  had  required  considerable  planning,  enough  to 
make  her  low  scores  on  IQ  tests  and  her  confiised,  "psy- 
chotic" state  questionable. 

After  final  arguments  on  Tuesday,  September  29, 1998, 
where  Michael  Downes  described  Teresa  as  a  calculating 
killer  who  shot  Chuck  Leonard  so  she  could  marry  her 
wealthy  lover,  and  John  Henry  Browne  called  her  a  fi-ag- 
ile,  abused  woman  who  was  desperately  trying  to  protect 
her  daughter,  it  was  almost  time  for  Teresa's  jury  to  retire 
to  deliberate. 

Neither  the  State  nor  the  Defense  spared  the  details  of 
Chuck  Leonard's  gruesome  and  bloody  death.  He  had 
lived  long  enough  to  chase  Teresa  up  the  ship  staircase  and 
even  managed  to  grab  her  ankle  with  his  last  ounce  of 
strength. 

John  Henry  Browne  pointed  out  that  the  evidence 
wasn't  in  the  three  bullets  Teresa  had  fired  nineteen  months 
before,  but  in  the  four  she  didn't  fire.  He  suggested  that  if 

167 


ANN  RULE 

Teresa  had  truly  intended  to  kill  Chuck,  she  would  have 
shot  at  him  again  at  that  time. 

But  she  didn't. 

Chuck  was  already  a  dead  man  walking,  but  Browne 
didn't  say  that. 

Had  Teresa  planned  the  murder  of  her  estranged  hus- 
band and  her  escape  to  Puerto  Rico  methodically — right 
down  to  her  plastic  surgery?  She'd  told  her  attorney  that 
she  had  facial  surgery  not  so  she  would  look  different  but 
because  she  didn't  want  to  look  like  her  mother,  who  had 
caused  her  much  pain  when  she  was  a  child.  This  was  the 
same  mother  she  once  said  she  loved  dearly  and  joined  in 
Texas  for  a  vacation  every  year. 

Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  reminded  jurors  that  Te- 
resa had  been  consumed  by  her  desire  to  move  to  Hawaii 
to  marry  Nick  Callas,  and  that  Chuck  Leonard  was  in  her 
way.  She  had  planned  her  crime,  even  to  the  point  that  she 
told  Joyce  Lilly  "that  she  was  going  to  'whack  Chuck 
tonight.'  " 

The  Defense  position  that  Chuck  was  molesting  their 
daughter  hadn't  come  up  until  a  very  long  time — months — 
later. 

The  jurors  wouldn't  hear  of  all  the  lies  and  variations  of 
the  truth  that  Teresa  had  practiced  in  her  life;  it  would  be 
impossible  to  take  all  the  little  threads  left  dangling  and 
crochet  them  into  a  recognizable  pattern.  Indeed,  no  one 
really  knew  how  many  lies,  con  games,  and  self-serving 
statements  Teresa  might  have  employed  for  years.  It  would 
be  akin  to  counting  pennies  in  a  gallon  jar. 

As  Browne  finished  his  final  arguments,  he  looked  at 
Teresa,  who  sat  with  her  head  bowed,  staring  at  a  small 

168 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

picture  of  Morgan,  which  was  propped  against  a  box  of 
tissues  out  of  the  jury's  view. 

In  a  bit  of  courtroom  drama,  he  glanced  at  her  and  said, 
"Teresa,  Morgan  knows.  She  knows  what  you  did  and  why 
you  did  it.  Do  you  understand  that?" 

Teresa  didn't  look  up. 

The  rule  of  thumb  in  trials  is  generally  that  the  longer 
the  jury  stays  out  deliberating,  the  more  likely  they  are  to 
acquit.  A  rapid  decision  usually  means  a  guilty  verdict. 
But  it  isn't  carved  in  stone.  Teresa  was  charged  with  both 
first-degree  murder  and  bail  jumping. 

In  less  than  three  hours,  the  foreman  signaled  that  the 
jury  had  a  verdict.  When  the  principals  and  the  gallery  had 
all  gathered  in  the  courtroom,  the  jury  foreman  handed  the 
verdict  to  the  bailiff. 

There  was  a  hush  in  the  room,  as  the  bailiff  unfolded 
the  paper  with  the  jury's  decision  on  it. 

"We,  the  jury,  find  Teresa  Gaethe  Leonard  .  .  .  guilty  of 
murder  in  the  first  degree." 

They  had  also  found  her  guilty  on  the  second,  lesser 
charge  of  bail  jumping. 

One  of  Chuck's  friends  let  out  a  muffled  sigh  of  relief. 
Theresa  Leonard,  his  sister,  began  to  cry  quietly.  Teresa 
Gaethe-Leonard  herself  sat  still  as  a  stone,  her  spine 
straight,  and  then  dabbed  at  her  eyes  with  a  tissue.  Her  at- 
torneys seemed  more  shaken  than  she  was. 

And  so  did  the  jurors  who  filed  out  rapidly,  waving 
away  reporters.  Some  stopped  to  light  cigarettes.  Others 
hurried  to  their  cars. 

Sentencing  was  set  for  October  16,  but  that  would  be 
postponed  until  Wednesday,  November  25.  Once  again, 

169 


ANN  RULE 

the  holiday  season  was  bleak  for  Teresa,  all  because  of 
her  own  doing.  In  November  1996,  Teresa  had  put  on  her 
"camouflage"  clothing  and  gone  to  Chuck's  house  to 
shoot  him,  but  been  put  off  because  Michelle  Conley  was 
with  him.  In  November  1997,  she  underwent  plastic  sur- 
gery and  stole  her  friend's  ID  as  she  prepared  to  fly  to 
Puerto  Rico,  and  now,  as  Thanksgiving  and  Christmas 
decorations  appeared  in  the  Snohomish  County  Court- 
house, she  would  hear  her  sentence  as  a  convicted  mur- 
deress. 

Teresa  had  walked  into  the  courtroom  between  her  two 
tall  attorneys,  and  that  made  her  seem  even  more  frail  and 
diminutive.  She  had  always  hated  to  wear  handcuffs,  and 
she  asked  to  have  them  removed  before  she  entered  the 
room,  but  her  guards  refused.  She  was  both  an  escape  and 
a  suicide  risk.  The  gallery  was  full  to  bursting  as  curious 
onlookers  made  room  for  just  one  more  person  on  the  long 
benches. 

Several  of  the  people  impacted  by  Chuck's  death  would 
probably  speak;  the  attorneys  would  speak,  and  perhaps 
even  Teresa  would  make  a  statement  before  Judge  Gerald 
Knight  handed  down  the  sentence. 

According  to  Washington  State  statute,  Teresa's  sen- 
tencing range  would  be  between  twenty-six  and  thirty-four 
years  in  prison.  Prosecutor  Michael  Downes  requested 
that  she  receive  a  sentence  at  the  high  end  of  the  range, 
and  her  defense  attorney,  John  Henry  Browne,  asked  for  a 
twenty-five-year  term,  saying,  "Truth  generally  lies  be- 
tween the  extremes." 

Theresa  Leonard,  who  now  had  permanent  custody  of 


170 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Morgan,  attempted  to  explain  the  tremendous  loss  her 
brother's  murder  was  for  her  family.  Most  of  all,  it  was  dif- 
ficult to  explain  to  six-year-old  Morgan. 

"She's  grieving  the  loss  of  both  her  father  and  her 
mother,"  Theresa  said.  "Chuck  was  many  things  to  many 
people.  He  drove  fast,  played  hard,  and  loved  many.  No 
doubt  he  loved  blondes.  [But]  he  never  pulled  any  punches 
with  kids.  He  was  direct  and  honest  with  them.  He  loved 
Morgan  without  reservation." 

Teresa  stood  before  Judge  Knight,  speaking  in  his 
courtroom  for  the  first  time. 

"I  wrote  this  probably  fifty-five  times,  trying  to  make  it 
short  so  you  would  listen,"  she  began,  but  as  she  went  on 
she  became  increasingly  emotional.  "A  mother's  basic  in- 
stinct is  to  protect  her  child,  which  was  my  motivating  ac- 
tion. .  .  .  Punky,  I  kept  my  promise  to  you  that  you  would 
not  suffer  through  a  family  life  like  my  own." 

It  was  time  for  Judge  Knight  to  pronounce  sentence 
and  to  make  any  remarks  he  might  have.  During  a  trial,  no 
one  knows  what  the  judge  is  thinking  any  more  than  he  or 
she  can  read  jurors'  minds.  This  was  the  moment  when 
Judge  Gerald  Knight  could  voice  his  opinion. 

"I  do  not  believe  that  Mr.  Leonard  abused  his' daugh- 
ter," Judge  Knight  said  firmly.  He  told  Teresa  that  it  didn't 
matter  what  she  might  have  believed  about  that,  her  deci- 
sion to  act  as  "judge,  jury,  and  executioner"  had  ended  in 
miserable  tragedy  for  many  people.  She  had  left  her  child 
a  virtual  orphan  without  either  parent. 

Judge  Knight  then  sentenced  Teresa  Gaethe-Leonard  to 
thirty  years  in  prison. 


171 


ANN  RULE 
*  *  * 

On  December  3,  1998,  Teresa  entered  the  Washington 
State  prison  system.  She  was  incarcerated  at  the  Washing- 
ton Corrections  Center  for  Women  in  Purdy.  She  joined  a 
roster  of  infamous  female  felons,  such  as  Diane  Downs, 
Mary  Kay  Letourneau,  and  Christine  Marler.  Teresa's  ear- 
liest release  date  is  July  29,  2023,  and  her  maximum  expi- 
ration of  sentence  is  November  11,  2027.  In  either  case, 
she  will  be  over  sixty  when  she  walks  out  of  prison.  Even 
then,  she  will  have  to  have  two  years  of  monitored  com- 
munity placement  before  she  is  completely  free. 

Teresa's  plan  is  to  move  back  to  New  Orleans  and  join 
her  sister  Lois. 

Teresa  has  been  a  relatively  cooperative  prisoner,  al- 
though she  was  reported  for  having  intimate  contact  with 
another  female  prisoner  when  correction  officers  found 
them  kissing. 

Teresa's  sisters  have  stood  by  her,  sending  her  mail- 
order items  of  clothing,  underwear,  makeup,  and  maga- 
zines. She  has  been  assigned  to  work  with  guide  and 
service  dogs,  and  that  has  brought  her  some  serenity. 

Does  Nick  Callas  write  to  Teresa  while  she  is  in  prison? 
I  honestly  don't  know.  His  real  estate  business  is  booming 
and  he  is  doing  well.  As  for  his  personal  life,  that  has 
faded  from  the  public  eye. 

Teresa  has  no  contact  at  all  with  her  daughter,  Morgan, 
who  is  now  seventeen  and  just  graduated  from  high 
school.  She  has  never  asked  to  see  photographs  of  Mor- 
gan, although  she  could  have  if  she  had  gone  through 
Morgan's  counselor. 

172 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Morgan  had  three  years  of  therapy  right  after  Chuck's 
death  to  help  her  deal  with  her  losses.  She  was  very  fragile 
and  had  nightmares,  mostly  about  her  mother.  It  took  her 
nearly  a  year  to  begin  to  accept  that  "my  mommy  killed 
my  daddy."  Sometimes  she  had  good  dreams  where  she 
woke  up  saying  she  felt  "Daddy  hugging  me." 

Today,  Morgan  is  a  bright,  talented  teenager  who  shares 
a  special  bond  with  her  aunt  Theresa,  and  Theresa's  daugh- 
ter, her  "sister."  She  has  also  met  her  older  half-sister  and 
has  a  warm  secure  family  to  replace  the  one  she  lost. 

When  asked  if  she  wanted  to  have  a  different  name  in 
this  book  to  protect  her  privacy,  she  said  no.  She  wants  the 
truth  to  be  told,  and  that  includes  her  name.  Soon,  she  will 
be  on  her  way  to  college. 

Morgan,  like  Chuck,  loves  kittens  and  cats.  She  still  has 
the  cat  her  dad  gave  her  in  October  1996,  and  the  Leo- 
nards have  four  more  cats,  bringing  the  number  of  feline 
pets  to  the  same  number  Chuck  had.  They  talk  about 
Chuck  openly  and  tell  funny  stories.  Morgan  wears  his  old 
sweaters  around  the  house  and  keeps  his  photographs 
prominent  in  her  life. 

Throughout  high  school,  Morgan  has  played  varsity  la- 
crosse, and  was  one  of  their  star  players. 

Her  father  would  be  proud  of  Morgan.  Just  as  she  is 
proud  of  him. 


173 


DEATH  IN 
PARADISE: 

THE  HAUNTING 

VOYAGE  OF  THE 

SPELLBOUND 


The  sea  is  a  cruel  mistress.  From  time  immemorial, 
men  have  tried  to  tame  her,  believing  that  their  strength 
and  intelligence  can  fool  her  capriciousness.  There  is  a 
fascination — even  a  mystique — inherent  in  the  endless 
miles  of  water  one  envisions  when  the  last  harbor  is  left 
behind.  Our  oceans  are  both  beautiful  and  deadly,  as  heed- 
less as  any  woman  who  alternately  beckons  and  taunts  a 
man.  Although  we  can  chart  her  tides  to  the  moment  and 
the  fathom,  no  human  can  ever  know  when  wild  winds 
will  whip  the  oceans  of  the  world  into  a  froth  of  ftiry. 

Women  waiting  for  their  seagoing  men  to  come  home 
once  paced  the  widow's  walks  atop  their  Victorian  man- 
sions, praying  that  their  husbands  and  lovers  would  return 
safely  to  them.  The  more  fortunate  of  those  women  would 
have  them  in  their  arms  and  beds  again,  but  some  inexpli- 
cable things  can  happen  to  a  man  at  sea.  He  may  disappear 
or  go  mad,  or  change  in  ways  that  no  one  could  predict. 

Many  modem  women  choose  not  to  wait;  they  go  along 
on  the  wide- water  journeys,  experienced  and  proficient  in 
handling  the  wheel  and  adjusting  mainsails,  jibs,  and  spin- 
nakers. Jody  Edwards  was  one  of  these  modem  women. 

177 


ANN  RULE 

Where  her  husband,  Loren,  went,  Jody  went,  too.  They 
were  a  love  match,  perfectly  suited  to  one  another. 

They  were  not  each  other's  first  loves — but  they  were 
their  last.  Jody  was  about  five  feet,  three  inches  tall,  a 
bouncy  brunette.  Loren  was  tall  and  spare,  but  tightly 
muscled.  Although  his  hair  would  turn  iron  gray,  he  con- 
tinued to  wear  it  in  a  crew  cut.  His  skin  was  usually  sun- 
tanned to  a  dark  toast  color. 

Loren  was  handsome  in  a  Gary  Cooper/John  Wayne 
kind  of  way,  masculine  but  not  a  pretty  boy.  He  was  born 
on  November  24,  1927,  in  Tekoa,  Whitman  County,  close 
to  the  Idaho  state  line  on  the  sunny  side  of  Washington.  He 
was  the  youngest  of  three  children.  His  parents — Ira  and 
Ruby — struggled  to  wrest  a  living  out  of  the  community 
that  counted  on  its  wheat  fields  and  pine  forests,  but  by 
1934,  the  Great  Depression  was  at  its  lowest  ebb.  Loren 
was  seven  when  Ira  moved  his  family  to  Seattle,  where 
there  were  more  jobs  than  in  Tekoa  or  Pine  City.  Not 
many,  and  the  pay  wasn't  good — but  it  was  an  improve- 
ment. 

The  Second  World  War  brought  an  end  to  the  depres- 
sion, but  it  also  cost  many  young  Americans'  lives.  Loren 
graduated  from  Roosevelt  High  School  in  Seattle  in  1946, 
and  he  was  safe  from  the  war,  which  had  ended  the  prior 
August.  He  joined  the  army  and  worked  in  the  Signal 
Corps  in  Alaska.  When  he  was  mustered  out,  he  entered 
the  University  of  Washington's  School  of  Forestry  under 
the  GI  Bill. 

He  tried  to  get  his  bachelor's  degree,  but  he  had  a  wife 
by  then  and  two  young  sons.  With  working  and  studying 


178 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

and  spending  time  with  his  family,  Loren  couldn't  keep  up 
and  he  dropped  out  before  graduating. 

He  followed  his  interest  and  his  talents  and  became  a 
master  carpenter  and  then  a  contractor,  a  profession  he 
would  work  in  for  a  quarter  of  a  century. 

Loren  Edwards,  who  grew  up  in  the  rolling  hills  of  the 
Palouse  where  thousands  of  acres  of  golden  wheat  thrived 
in  the  heat,  had  always  been  fascinated  with  boats  of  all 
kinds.  When  he  was  nine,  he  built  a  seaworthy  kayak  in 
the  family  garage.  His  dream  was  always  to  have  his  own 
boat,  and  when  he  got  that,  to  have  a  larger  craft. 

Jody  Feet  grew  up  on  the  rainy  side  of  the  Cascade 
Mountain  Range  in  the  tiny  hamlet  of  Preston.  Preston  is 
little  more  than  a  wide  spot  in  the  readjust  off  1-90  as  that 
fi*eeway  traverses  the  foothills  of  Snoqualmie  Pass.  Even 
those  who  regularly  cross  the  steadily  steeper  pass  on  their 
way  to  Spokane  and  other  eastern  cities  of  Washington 
State  are  often  unfamiliar  with  Preston.  Unless  they  have 
business  there,  they  are  more  likely  to  stop  for  lunch  in  Is- 
saquah  or  North  Bend. 

Jody  attended  her  lower  grades  in  the  small  school  in 
Preston  and,  later  on,  rode  the  school  bus  to  Issaquah  High 
School.  With  her  dark  hair  and  dimples,  she  was  very 
pretty. 

As  young  marrieds,  Loren  and  Jody  had  known  each 
other  when  they  were  part  of  the  same  loosely  connected 
social  group.  Jody  was  married  to  Bob  Peet  then,  and 
pregnant  with  her  second  child  at  the  age  of  nineteen.  The 
Peets'  future  stretched  out  ahead  with  no  real  problems  in 
sight. 


179 


ANN  RULE 

That  all  ended  tragically  when  Bob  Peet  died  in  an  au- 
tomobile accident  in  1954.  Her  family  feared  for  Jody,  but 
she  struggled  to  overcome  her  loss  and  provide  a  home  for 
her  children. 

And  then  Loren  Edwards  and  his  first  wife  divorced. 
He  became  reacquainted  with  Jody  Peet,  and  to  everyone's 
delighted  surprise,  they  fell  in  love.  They  were  married  in 
1956.  Jody  stayed  home  with  their  blended  family,  and 
Loren 's  career  as  a  contractor  continued  to  succeed.  He 
built  a  home  for  Jody's  parents,  and  she  volunteered  for 
the  Red  Cross  and  for  support  groups  that  helped  handi- 
capped children. 

Both  Jody  and  Loren  were  devoted  to  their  parents — 
and  to  each  other's.  Loren  was  particularly  close  to  his 
father,  Ira.  Ira  had  gotten  his  family  through  bard  times  in 
a  government  job,  and  he  wasn't  nearly  ready  to  retire,  not 
even  when  he  was  seventy-four.  He  simply  started  a  new 
career  in  real  estate. 

Jody  and  Loren 's  marriage  was  one  of  deep  love  and 
many  shared  interests.  Jody  loved  boating  almost  as  much 
as  Loren  did,  and  they  graduated  from  kayaks  and  canoes 
to  small  powerboats.  They  joined  a  platoon  of  people  with 
outboard  cruisers  who  responded  to  a  Seattle  radio  sta- 
tion's promotion  and  traveled  to  Alaska  and  back.  It 
wasn't  luxurious  onboard  living,  but  they  had  a  great 
time. 

Seattle  seems  to  drift  in  the  middle  of  water,  and  there 
are  probably  more  boat  owners  there  than  in  almost  any 
other  city  in  America.  Some  feel  adventurous  just  to  cast 
off  their  anchors  in  Lake  Washington,  while  others  ven- 
ture out  into  Elliott  Bay  and  Puget  Sound  and  head  to  the 

180 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

San  Juan  Islands  to  the  north  or  to  the  Pacific  Ocean. 
Simply  finding  a  place  to  dock  a  boat  in  the  winter 
months  is  daunting;  there  is  a  long  waiting  list  for  every 
slip  along  every  dock. 

Jody  and  Loren  Edwards  shared  a  very  ambitious  dream: 
they  wanted  to  build  a  magnificent  sailboat,  one  they  could 
sail  on  the  high  seas,  a  craft  so  powerftil  and  perfect  that  it 
would  be  almost  impervious  to  storms  with  driving  winds. 
It  was  the  midseventies,  and  their  children  were  grown  and 
doing  well.  They  had  saved  their  money  and  built  up  equity 
in  a  series  of  boats,  so  they  finally  felt  ready  to  build  a  fifty- 
four-foot  ketch.  It  would  take  years,  and  intensive  labor  on 
their  part,  but  they  were  prepared  to  sacrifice  whatever 
luxury  they  needed  to. 

The  Edwardses  weren't  rich,  and  this  was  a  rich  man's 
boat.  In  the  seventies,  even  with  their  doing  much  of  the 
work  themselves,  it  would  cost  well  over  $100,000.  Today, 
it  would  be  a  million-dollar  craft.  They  lived  in  a  modest 
home  in  Preston,  but  that  didn't  matter  to  them.  Their  ulti- 
mate home  would  be  at  sea. 

They  named  their  ketch  before  it  ever  existed.  The 
perfect  name — Spellbound — was  magical,  mysterious,  and 
what  they  considered  the  best  appellation  for  the  craft  that 
was  to  be  the  result  of  their  consuming  passion. 

Because  they  were  confident  in  their  ability  to  create 
the  Spellbound,  the  Edwardses  quickly  signed  up  for  a  slip 
on  the  waiting  list  of  the  Kirkland  municipal  dock  in  the 
Marina  Park  there.  They  knew  it  would  take  a  year  or  more 
before  their  names  came  up. 


181 


ANN  RULE 

Peyton  Whitely  worked  as  a  popular  reporter  at  the  Seattle 
Times  for  forty-one  years,  often  covering  criminal  cases. 
He  was  a  superb  researcher  and  a  gifted  writer.  He  was 
also  a  boat  fancier,  and  he  docked  his  boat  at  the  Marina 
Park  in  Kirkland.  He  met  Loren  and  Jody  Edwards  when 
they  became  his  neighbors  on  the  dock.  They  weren't 
close  friends,  but  they  nodded  and  waved,  and  he  admired 
their  yellow-hulled  fiberglass  ketch.  Loren 's  skill  and  ex- 
perience as  a  builder  were  evident.  The  Edwardses  had 
lovingly  varnished  and  rubbed  the  wooden  parts  of  the 
boat,  and  every  mitered  comer  was  precise.  The  lamps  and 
compass  were  girabaled  so  that  they  would  remain  upright 
no  matter  how  waves  might  toss  and  turn  the  craft.  There 
was  a  ship-to-shore  radio  system. 

Many  people  dream  of  an  exotic  cruise  in  a  flawless 
sailboat,  but  the  couple  with  the  yellow-hulled  ketch  were 
actually  going  to  do  it.  They  were  more  than  halfway  there 
as  they  christened  the  Spellbound.  She  would  soon  be  able 
to  carry  a  good-size  crew  and  a  number  of  passengers. 


It  was  August  1977  when  Loren  and  Jody  embarked  on 
their  extended  cruise  to  the  South  Pacific.  They  had  a  crew 
that  was  mostly  "homegrown":  their  daughter,  Kerry, 
twenty,  and  her  friend  Lori  Huey,  twenty-one,  and  they 
planned  to  pick  up  Loren 's  son  Gary — one  of  his  sons 
from  his  first  marriage — in  Southern  California. 

This  was  meant  to  be  a  voyage  to  paradise,  and  it  was. . . 
for  a  while.  The  Spellbound  was  seaworthy  and  proud,  and 
they  encountered  no  problems  as  they  sailed  a  leisurely 
course  off  the  coasts  of  Washington,  Oregon,  and  then 

182 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

California,  bound  for  San  Diego.  The  winds  grew  warmer 
and  every  day  was  a  vacation,  with  the  four  on  board  taking 
turns  at  the  wheel. 

It  was  September  16  when  Gary  Edwards,  twenty- 
seven,  prepared  to  leave  for  San  Diego  and  meet  up  with 
his  stepmother,  father,  stepsister,  and  her  friend  Lori.  Gary 
was  very  strong  and  familiar  with  sailing,  and  he  would  be 
an  asset  to  help  crew  the  ketch. 

Gary  worried  his  California  girlfriend  when  he  told  her 
of  the  danger  of  pirates  and  smugglers  off  the  Mexican 
coast.  She  had  been  concerned  about  storms  at  sea  and 
shipwrecks,  but  she  thought  pirates  had  been  gone  for  a 
hundred  years. 

Still,  Gary  Edwards  was  right  about  that  danger. 
Although  foreign  waters  weren't  as  bristling  with  pirates 
and  smugglers  in  the  seventies  as  they  would  be  in  the 
first  decade  of  the  current  century,  they  were  something 
to  consider.  Gary  Edwards  felt  there  had  to  be  some  basis 
to  the  rumors  he  had  heard. 

Gary  showed  his  girlfriend  a  handgun  he  had  purchased 
to  afford  his  family  extra  protection  if  they  were  attacked 
at  sea.  It  was  a  menacing-looking  weapon — a  Walther 
PPK/S  .380-caliber  automatic  pistol.  The  gun  held  seven 
rounds,  Gary  explained,  and  it  was  very  accurate.  It  was 
heavy— weighing  almost  a  pound  and  a  half 

He  tucked  it  into  his  seabag,  confident  that  he  could 
fight  off  pirates  if  they  should  attack  his  father's  boat. 

The  magnificent  journey  began  with  a  jubilant  crew 
They  planned  to  be  at  sea  for  three  years,  with  stopovers  at 
exotic  ports  of  call.  They  sailed  serenely  through  Mexican 
waters  without  ever  meeting  pirate  ships  and  were  soon  in 

183 


ANN  RULE 

the  Pacific  Ocean.  The  Edwardses  had  planned  their  jour- 
ney carefully  and  thoroughly,  with  long-lasting  provisions 
stored  away.  They  could  catch  fish  and  buy  fi*esh  local  pro- 
duce and  groceries  whenever  they  landed  somewhere  big 
enough  to  have  a  store. 

The  Edwards  family  headed  out  to  one  of  the  most  tan- 
talizing and  enchanting  ports  of  call:  Tahiti.  There  are 
thirty-five  islands  and  eighty-three  coral  atolls  in  French 
Polynesia,  but  the  total  land  there  is  only  about  3,500 
square  kilometers.  Located  midway  between  Australia  and 
South  America,  these  South  Pacific  islands  seem  almost  as 
mythical  as  Brigadoon.  There  are  volcanoes,  silky  sand, 
and  aqua  lagoons,  and  the  air  smells  of  tropical  flowers: 
bougainvillea,  firangipani,  ginger,  jasmine,  Chinese  and 
Polynesian  hibiscus,  and  the  national  flower  tiare  Tahiti,  a 
type  of  gardenia. 

The  first  Polynesians  had  arrived  on  the  islands  by  800 
A.D.  Many,  many  famous  visitors  came  later.  In  the  late 
1880s,  the  Tahitians  accepted  the  offer  to  be  a  protectorate 
of  France.  The  islands  were  a  natural  draw  for  writers  and 
artists,  the  perfect  ambiance  where  one  could  escape  from 
the  world  and  create  a  masterpiece. 

French  artist  Paul  Gauguin  settled  on  the  island  of  Hiva 
Oa  in  the  Marquesas  in  1 891 ,  and  in  the  dozen  years  before 
his  death  there,  his  brightly  hued  paintings  of  sultry,  dark-^ 
eyed  native  women  and  the  flora  and  fauna  in  Tahiti  made 
that  far-off  paradise  familiar  to  people  all  over  the  world. 

Sometimes,  the  Edwards  family  had  to  pinch  them- 
selves when  they  realized  that  they  would  actually  arrive 
in  Papeete  soon.  They  planned  to  shop  at  the  morning 
market  on  the  territory's  largest  island  and  drive  the 

184 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

117-kilometer  road  that  circled  Tahiti,  where  visitors 
could  view  monuments  and  museums,  beaches,  waterfalls, 
cliffs,  and  temple  ruins. 

Seattle  was  so  far  away.  Another  world. 

One  day,  they  would  go  home,  filled  with  enough  mem- 
ories to  last  a  lifetime.  They  didn't  even  think  about  the 
more  mundane  practices  that  separated  the  Emerald  City 
in  Washington  State  and  the  lushly  beautiful  tropical  is- 
lands. The  islands'  legal  system  alone  was  quite  different. 
Whatever  crimes  that  might  occur  in  Tahiti  would  be  han- 
dled by  French  law  enforcement  officers,  and  the  law  itself 
was  different  in  Tahiti,  and  in  France. 

But  the  Edwardses  had  no  reason  to  expect  anything 
bad  to  happen  to  them.  Aside  from  a  little  seasickness,  and 
the  kind  of  minor  arguments  all  families  have  when  they 
are  together  in  a  small  space  for  too  long,  the  voyage  had 
been  everything  they  could  have  hoped  for. 

Loren  had  charted  the  weather  carefully,  so  they  were 
aware  that  they  wouldn't  be  docking  in  the  best  of  weather. 
Summer  in  Tahiti  runs  from  November  to  April,  and  the  air 
is  hot  and  cloying,  heavy  with  humidity.  And  then  the  trade 
winds  blow  from  May  to  August. 

The  Edwardses  would  be  landing  six  weeks  into  the 
hurricane  season,  but  Loren  assured  them  the  Spellbound 
could  take  hurricane-force  winds  and  blinding  rain.  He 
had  designed  the  craft  to  withstand  such  storms. 


By  the  middle  of  February  1978,  the  Spellbound  was 
within  a  few  hundred  miles  of  Tahiti.  It  had  been  a  won- 
derful trip  so  far. 

185 


ANN  RULE 

And  then,  suddenly,  the  Edwardses'  fortunes  changed. 

They  received  an  emergency  message  patched  forward 
by  several  ham-radio  operators.  Loren's  beloved  father, 
Ira,  seventy-nine,  was  in  a  Seattle  hospital  in  critical  con- 
dition. He  had  been  fine  when  they  left  Seattle,  but  now  he 
had  been  diagnosed  with  terminal  cancer  in  its  very  late 
stages.  He  might  survive  for  a  few  months,  weeks,  or  just 
days. 

Any  thought  of  continuing  on  their  cruise  as  planned 
was  abandoned.  They  had  to  get  to  Papeete.  With  its  popu- 
lation of  70,000,  it  had  an  aiiport.  Loren  would  disembark 
there  and  catch  the  first  plane  for  the  United  States  that  he 
could.  The  rest  of  the  crew  would  stay  in  Papeete  until 
they  could  head  for  home,  or  until  Loren  rejoined  them. 
Gary  could  sail  the  Spellbound,  and  Jody,  Kerry,  and  Lori 
would  be  enough  crew. 

Fortunately,  the  weather  was  good,  and  there  were  no 
reports  of  hurricanes  in  the  area.  They  kept  a  constant 
pace  toward  Papeete.  The  wind  blew  five  to  seven  knots, 
and  they  agreed  not  to  sink  the  anchor  at  all.  Each  crew 
member  would  have  two  hours  at  the  helm,  eight  hours 
off.  They  were  racing  against  death.  They  could  not  make 
the  wind  blow  harder,  but  they  were  making  steady  prog- 
ress. 


No  one  heard  from  the  Edwards  crew  for  almost  ten  days. 
Then,  on  February  25,  the  captain  of  a  charter  boat 
moored  on  the  island  of  Rangiroa  in  French  Polynesia 
monitored  a  weak  emergency  radio  signal.  He  finally 
determined  it  concerned  a  sailing  ship  called  the  Spell- 

186 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

bound  somewhere  near  Rangiroa.  It  was  coming  through  a 
ham-radio  operator  in  Los  Angeles.  The  charter-boat  cap- 
tain could  not  determine  exactly  what  was  wrong,  only 
that  the  ship  was  in  trouble  of  some  kind. 

The  charter  boat  notified  authorities  and  set  out  to  find 
the  mysterious  boat  in  distress.  After  several  hours,  they 
came  upon  a  yellow-hulled  sailboat  drifting  aimlessly 
sixty  miles  out  at  sea. 

Four  rescuers  climbed  aboard.  They  had  been  told  that 
a  captain  and  four  crew  members  were  supposed  to  be  on 
board.  But  that  was  no  longer  true. 

There  were  only  three  people  on  the  sailboat — all  of 
whom  appeared  to  be  in  shock.  The  lone  man  identified 
himself  as  Gary  Edwards  and  said  the  two  women  were 
his  stepsister,  Kerry,  and  her  friend  Lori. 

One  of  Gary  Edwards's  wrists  was  grotesquely  swollen 
and  looked  to  be  broken.  Kerry  Edwards  appeared  to  have 
a  severe  head  injury.  She  had  deep  cuts  over  her  right  eye, 
which  was  blackened.  Lori  Huey  said  she  wasn't  injured. 

And  yet  no  one  knew  exactly  what  had  happened  to 
them.  Was  it  possible  that  Gary  Edwards's  fear  of  pirates 
had  come  true?  And  where  were  his  parents? 

"They're  dead,"  Gary  said.  "We  buried  them  at  sea — 
somewhere  off  Rangiroa." 

Asked  how  the  couple  had  died,  the  three  survivors  all 
seem.ed  confused.  That  was,  perhaps,  to  be  expected. 
Adrift  at  sea  in  a  strange  place,  losing  the  two  people  who 
knew  the  most  about  how  the  ship  ran  and  who  were  the 
parents  of  two  of  the  survivors,  it  was  no  wonder  they 
were  stunned  and  bewildered. 

The  first  order  of  business  for  the  rescuers  was  to  find 

187 


ANN  RULE 

medical  treatment  for  the  injured.  The  chance  of  locating . 
the  elder  Edwardses'  bodies  in  the  deep  ocean  was  minus- 
cule. There  were  sharks  in  the  water,  which  brought  horri- 
ble images  to  mind.  That  would  all  have  to  be  sorted  out 
later,  if  it  was  even  possible. 

The  Spellbound,  completely  undamaged,  was  sailed 
into  Rangiroa.  Kerry  was  found  to  have  a  fractured  skull, 
and  Gary  had  his  broken  wrist  set  and  cast  in  plaster.  Lori 
hovered  close  by  her  friend,  while  the  three  who  had 
emerged  alive  from  the  death  ship  waited  to  talk  to  au- 
thorities. 


It  would  be  difficult  to  say  who  had  jurisdiction  over  the 
investigation.  Coverage  overlapped,  and  several  agencies 
might  step  in.  The  French  police  were  in  Papeete,  300 
miles  away.  The  U.S.  Coast  Guard  might  be  involved,  and 
perhaps  the  FBI.  As  a  rule,  a  criminal  offense  on  the  high 
seas  is  not  under  any  U.S.  jurisdiction.  Despite  the  num- 
ber of  bizarre  deaths  that  have  proliferated  on  cruise 
ships  at  sea  in  the  last  few  years,  not  many  mysteries 
have  been  solved. 

As  I  write  this,  a  television  news  broadcast  headlines  the 
story  of  a  thirty-nine-year-old  man  who  either  leapt — or 
was  pushed — from  a  Norwegian  luxury  cruise  liner  in  the 
Bahamas.  The  captain  ordered  a  590-square-mile  search  of 
the  rough  water,  but  they  gave  up  when  they  found  no  sign 
of  him  at  all. 

A  few  years  ago,  an  elderly  man  was  reported  by  his  wife 
to  have  left  the  ship;  a  bridegroom  vanished — with  a  pool 
of  blood  on  the  deck  beneath  his  porthole;  and  his  bride  was 

188 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

strangely  unemotional.  A  beautiful  young  woman,  whose 
parents  were  frantic  when  she  didn't  comx  back  to  their 
quarters  after  a  night  of  dancing,  never  returned. 

These  stories  v/ere  all  in  the  top  of  the  news  for  a  few 
weeks,  and  then  they  disappeared,  explained  away  by 
drunkenness,  suicide,  accidental  falls  from  upper  decks. 

The  public  looks  at  the  most  likely  suspects  in  cases  of 
shipboard  disappearance  and  violent  death  with  misgiv- 
ings, but  any  arrest  is  extremely  rare.  For  some  reason, 
unexplained  deaths  at  sea  don't  get  the  attention  that 
stateside  crimes  do.  At  least  not  until  the  recent  U.S.  hos- 
tages taken  by  pirates  in  the  Indian  Ocean  when  the  whole 
nation  watched,  breath  held,  as  the  captain  of  the  con- 
tainer ship — the  Maersk  Alabama,  with  twenty  Americans 
on  board — was  finally  rescued,  his  captors  killed  instantly 
by  American  sharpshooters.  Pirate  attacks  on  Nonvegian 
and  Canadian  ships  followed  within  a  week. 

As  for  crimes  in  the  sea  off  the  South  Pacific  islands  in 
the  late  seventies,  U.S.  authorities  agreed  to  step  in  in  only 
three  instances:  when  arrests  had  been  made;  when  the  home 
residences  of  those  involved  v/ere  in  the  United  States;  or  on 
direct  orders  to  intervene  from  Washington,  D.C. 

Because  Loren  and  Jody  Edwards  were  American  citi- 
zens whose  usual  residence  was  in  Washington  State,  FBI 
special  agents  would  ask  some  penetrating  questions.  But 
would  they  go  further  than  that? 


What  could  have  happened? 

And  why  had  both  Loren  and  Jody  perished  at  sea?  The 
first  reports  that  seemed  to  have  any  substance,  after  being 

189 


ANN  RULE 

filtered  through  the  morass  of  rumors,  came  from  the 
ham-radio  operator  in  Los  Angeles  who  had  picked  up  the 
Spellbound's  distress  call  and  sent  rescuers  to  the  ship. 
He  was  thousands  of  miles  away,  but  somehow  the  cry  for 
help  had  come  to  him,  rather  than  to  anyone  in  the  South 
Seas.  He  had  taken  a  personal  interest  in  the  crew,  and  he 
met  Kerry  Edwards  and  Lori  Huey  on  March  1  when  they 
came  through  the  LAX  airport  to  change  planes  for 
Seattle.  He  saw  them  safely  through  the  bustling  airport  to 
the  correct  departure  gate,  and  talked  with  them  until  they 
boarded. 

Kerry  told  him  that  she  and  her  father  had  been  in  the 
cockpit  of  the  ship  at  about  four  in  the  morning  on  Febru- 
ary 24.  "We  were  working  there,"  she  said,  "and  suddenly 
the  boom  came  loose." 

(The  boom  is  an  extremely  heavy  horizontal  pole 
along  the  bottom  of  both  a  fore  and  aft  rigged  sail.  It 
helps  to  control  the  angle  and  shape  of  the  sails,  and 
serves  as  an  attachment  point  for  more  complicated  con- 
trol lines.  During  some  sailing  maneuvers,  the  boom 
swings  rapidly  from  one  side  of  a  boat  to  the  other,  and 
sailors  have  to  be  extremely  careful  that  their  heads  are 
out  of  its  path.  If  they  don't  duck,  the  boom's  impact  is 
always  dangerous.) 

"Somehow,  it  got  loose,"  Kerry  said  faintly,  "but  I  don't 
remember  much  else." 

She  was  quite  sure  that  she  had  been  struck  on  her 
head,  and  that  the  boom  had  dealt  her  father  a  fatal  blow 
when  it  hit  him.  Although  her  memory  was  fuzzy,  she 
believed  that  her  mother,  Gary,  and  Lori  were  below  decks 


190 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

at  the  time.  She  didn't  think  they  had  witnessed  the  fatal 
accident. 

When  Jody  Edwards  learned  that  her  husband  had 
died  from  being  hit  by  the  out-of-control  boom,  she  was 
wild  with  grief.  Loren  was  her  world,  and  he  had  been 
her  beloved  companion  for  twenty-two  years.  She  couldn't 
believe  he  was  gone. 

Since  Kerry  was  so  badly  injured,  and  Gary  had  to  be  at 
the  wheel,  Lori  Huey  stayed  up  all  that  endless  Friday 
night,  trying  in  vain  to  comfort  Jody.  Jody  couldn't  under- 
stand why  someone  with  Loren 's  skill  as  a  sailor  would 
ever  get  in  the  way  of  a  swinging  boom. 

The  next  morning,  Jody  finally  fell  into  a  fitful  sleep. 
The  others  hoped  she  could  stay  asleep  for  hours  because 
she  was  totally  exhausted  and  in  deep  shock. 

But  that  didn't  happen.  While  they  thought  Jody  was 
sleeping,  Kerry,  Lori,  and  Gary  were  working  in  another 
location  on  the  ship.  Suddenly,  they  heard  a  single  shot 
sound  belowdecks. 

They  rushed  to  Jody's  bunk,  meeting  there  at  the  same 
time. 

They  were  horrified  to  find  that  Jody  had  taken  her  own 
life.  Kerry  trembled  as  she  described  to  the  Los  Angeles 
radio  operator  the  shock  at  finding  her  mother  shot  to  death. 

The  three  survivors  talked  for  hours  about  what  they 
should  do.  Should  they  keep  the  elder  Edwardses'  bodies 
on  board,  hoping  they  would  be  able  to  land  soon?  Or 
should  they  let  the  sea  embrace  them?  The  weather  was 
warm,  and  they  had  to  face  the  fact  that  their  remains 
would  begin  to  decompose. 


191 


ANN  RULE 

Finally,  they  voted  to  bury  them  at  sea.  They  wrapped 
Loren  and  Jody  in  heavy  chains,  and  committed  them  to 
the  ocean  that  both  of  them  had  loved. 

Kerry  told  the  man  who  had  saved  them  from  so  many 
miles  away  that  she  and  Lori  had  sensed  that  the  police  in 
Papeete  suspected  them  of  foul  play.  Interrogated  through 
a  French-English  interpreter,  she  recalled  at  least  seven 
detectives  asking  questions. 

In  extreme  pain  from  her  fractured  skull  and  cuts,  and 
in  shock,  Kerry  had  been  through  a  tremendous  ordeal. 
She  and  Lori  wanted  only  to  go  home  to  America.  Gary 
Edwards  volunteered  to  stay  with  the  Spellbound  in 
Papeete  to  keep  it  from  being  vandalized. 

Finally,  on  February  28,  four  days  after  the  double  trag- 
edy, the  young  women  were  allowed  to  leave  and  fly  out  of 
Tahiti. 

Two  and  a  half  hours  after  their  short  stopover  at  LAX, 
Lori  and  Kerry  arrived  in  Seattle.  They  were  met  by  a  pha- 
lanx of  relatives  and  friends.  Port  Authority  police  whisked 
them  through  a  crowd  of  reporters  and  curious  bystanders 
at  SeaTac  Airport  into  a  secluded  area. 

At  first  glance,  Kerry  and  Lori  appeared  to  be  ordinary 
tourists  returning  from  a  tropical  vacation.  They  were  tan, 
and  they  wore  brightly  colored  skirts  with  Tahitian  prints, 
and  strands  of  island  beads,  but  the  girls'  faces  were 
strained  and  hollow,  there  was  terror  in  their  gaze,  and 
Kerry  had  a  deep  cut  over  one  eye. 

They  insisted  they  had  nothing  to  say  to  the  reporters  who 
were  anxious  to  hear  what  had  happened  in  Rangiroa.  Soon, 
Lori  and  Kerry  retained  attorneys  to  represent  them,  and  the 
lawyers  advised  them  not  to  give  any  media  interviews. 

192 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

Of  the  five  people  who  left  San  Diego  on  the  Spell- 
bound, only  Lori  Huey  was  uninjured.  On  March  3,  Kerry 
Edwards  was  admitted  to  Overlake  Hospital  in  Bellevue 
and  underwent  surgery  to  repair  her  fractured  skull.  She, 
too,  had  come  close  to  dying  of  her  injuries — ^but  physi- 
cians felt  she  would  survive. 

Larry  Edwards,  Gary's  elder  brother,  flew  to  Tahiti  to 
join  Gary  in  protecting  the  magnificent  sailing  ship  that 
now  had  no  destination  and  was  only  a  sad  reminder  of  a 
trip  to  paradise  that  never  happened,  at  least  not  in  the  way 
the  Edwardses  had  planned.  The  ship  was  now  worth 
almost  $200,000,  and  one  man  couldn't  stay  awake 
twenty-four  hours  a  day  to  patrol  it. 

The  Edwards  family  was  being  torn  apart,  all  within  a 
period  of  nine  days,  as  if  some  evil  presence  stalked  them. 
On  March  5,  Ira  Edwards,  the  beloved  patriarch  of  their 
family,  died  of  cancer. 

Jody,  Loren,  and  now  Ira  were  gone.  Their  family  had 
been  blessed,  and  it  seemed  as  if  a  curse  had  fallen  upon 
them. 


Early  in  April,  six  weeks  after  the  tragedy,  a  federal  grand 
jury  met  in  Seattle  to  begin  a  closed-door  investigation 
into  Loren  and  Jody's  deaths.  Kerry  Edwards  and  Lori 
Huey  testified  at  the  secret  hearing,  but  they  continued  to 
decline  to  comment  publicly  on  what  had  occurred  in  the 
sea  off  Rangiroa.  Gary  remained  far  away  on  board  the 
ill-fated  ship. 

Peyton  Whitely,  the  Seattle  Times  reporter  who  had  once 
shared  a  dock  with  the  Edwardses,  was  more  curious  than 

193 


ANN  RULE 

most  about  what  had  happened  to  his  friends,  casual 
acquaintances  though  they  were.  He  knew  they  had  been 
inordinately  proud  of  the  yellow-hulled  sailboat  that  had 
once  dwarfed  most  of  the  other  boats  at  the  Marina  Park  in 
Kirkland.  Most  of  the  details  of  the  deadly  twenty-four 
hours  on  board  that  boat  were  still  hidden.  That  was,  of 
course,  tantalizing  to  an  investigative  reporter. 

Whitely  pitched  the  story  to  his  editor  and  said  he  was 
ready  to  travel  to  Tahiti  to  see  what  he  could  find  out.  His 
concept  of  the  coverage  was  right  on  target,  but  his  timing 
was  off.  As  it  happened,  another  Times  reporter  was 
already  scheduled  to  go  to  Papeete  for  a  different  kind  of 
assignment.  Her  editor  figured  Eloise  Schumacher  could 
do  double  duty  and  see  what  she  could  find  out  about  the 
crev/  of  the  Spellbound.  Whitely  told  Schumacher 
everything  he  had  found  out  about  the  Edwardses,  even 
though  he  was  frastrated  that  he  wouldn't  be  making  the 
trip  himself. 

Eloise  located  the  Spellbound  and  Gary  Edw^ards.  And 
he  agreed  to  an  interview.  Later,  she  would  admit  to  being 
somewhat  leery  of  being  alone  on  the  death  ship  with 
Gary,  probably  because  no  one  knew  what  had  really  hap- 
pened in  February.  She  shivered  involuntarily  as  she  saw 
what  looked  like  dried  bloodstains  on  the  deck. 

The  tall,  tanned  son  of  the  deceased  couple  wore  sun- 
glasses, and  it  was  impossible  to  read  his  feelings  when 
she  couldn't  see  his  eyes. 

Gary  Edwards  was  a  handsome  man  who  had  both  a 
mustache  and  a  beard  and  apparently  hadn't  cut  his  hair 
for  months.  He  posed  for  a  photograph  to  accompany  her 
article — leaning  against  the  mast,  wearing  cutoff  jean 

194 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

shorts  and  without  a  shirt.  He  looked  half  hippie  and  half 
Indiana  Jones. 

Probably  she  couldn't  have  read  his  feelings  even  if  she 
looked  deep  into  his  eyes.  In  the  four-hour  interview 
aboard  the  sailboat,  Gary  spoke  volubly  as  his  mood 
changed  with  mercurial  speed.  One  moment  he  laughed, 
and  the  next  he  was  choking  back  tears.  He  said  he  was 
anxious  to  correct  some  erroneous  reports  about  the  time 
frame  in  which  his  father  and  stepmother  perished. 

First  of  all,  he  said,  his  wrist  wasn't  injured  at  the  same 
time  the  boom  hit  his  father,  "t  hurt  it  four  days  earlier,"  he 
pointed  out.  "On  February  20.  A  winch  handle  hit  it.  I 
didn't  think  it  was  broken,  but  the  winch  tore  some  liga- 
ments, and  that  injury  prevented  me  from  doing  a  lot  of 
things  on  the  boat." 

Gary  Edwards  said  that  another  misstatement  revolved 
around  Kerry  and  the  comments  the  ham-radio  operator  in 
Los  Angeles  had  passed  on. 

"Kerry  wasn't  hurt  when  my  dad  was  killed.  It  was  four 
a.m.,  before  my  dad  died,  and  I  was  in  the  cockpit  at  the 
wheel.  I  heard  her  moaning  and  screaming  from  her 
bunk — ^that's  thiee  steps  down  from  the  cockpit." 

Gary  said  he  had  gone  to  Kerry  and  found  her  with  a 
pillow  over  her  head.  "She  kept  saying  her  head  hurt.  She 
had  been  asleep  and  she  had  no  idea  how  she  got  hurt.  I 
think  she  might  have  gotten  up,  fallen,  and  hit  her  head  on 
the  comer  of  the  bunk." 

Having  Kerry  injured  had  further  upset  the  carefully 
planned  schedule  they  were  trying  to  adhere  to  to  traverse 
as  many  miles  as  possible  to  Papeete  so  that  Loren  could 
catch  a  plane  to  see  his  dying  father. 

195 


ANN  RULE 

"So  you  were  injured  first — four  days  before  your 
father  and  Kerry  were?"  Eloise  Schumacher  asked. 

"Yes.  First  me.  Then  Kerry,  and  then  my  dad." 

Gary  explained  that  his  stepmother — Jody — had  come 
up  from  the  master  cabin  before  dawn  on  February  24  so 
she  could  take  care  of  Kerry. 

"My  dad  took  over  the  helm,"  Gary  went  on.  "We  were 
just  disoriented  then,  because  it  was  night  and  dark,  and 
we  weren't  keeping  track  of  where  we  were  going." 

Gary  Edwards  drew  a  deep  breath  as  he  continued  to 
recall  the  events  of  the  early  morning  hours  of  February 
24.  "Two  hours  after  Kerry's  mishap — whatever  happened 
to  her — I  was  steering  in  the  cockpit  and  I  thought  I  saw 
an  atoll.  I  climbed  up  on  the  bow  to  see  better.  I  called  to 
my  father— who  was  inside — to  climb  up  on  the  stem  to 
see  if  he  could  see  the  atoll. 

"All  of  a  sudden,  the  boat  jerked.  I  turned  around  and 
saw  my  father  lying  in  the  cockpit." 

For  just  a  moment  or  two,  Gary  took  off  his  sunglasses, 
and  Eloise  Schumacher  saw  that  his  eyes  brimmed  wiih 
tears.  Still,  he  kept  on  talking,  remembering  that  bleak 
dawn  as  if  he  could  actually  see  it  play  out  before  him .  He 
explained  that  the  sailboat  was  running  with  only  two 
sails,  and  the  mainsail  hadn't  been  unfurled  at  the  time  of 
the  accident. 

"He  was  either  hit  by  the  main  boom,  and  then  fell 
backward  into  the  cockpit,  hitting  his  head  on  the  steer- 
ing wheels — or  he  lost  his  balance  and  fell,"  Gary  specu- 
lated. 

He  recalled  that  his  father  had  been  suffering  with  diz- 
ziness almost  from  the  beginning  of  their  voyage.  Loren 

196 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

Edwards  was  planning  to  see  a  doctor  about  this  when  he 
got  back  to  the  States. 

With  a  three-year  voyage  planned,  that  would  be  delay- 
ing treatment  for  a  very  long  tirhe.  There  were  many  things 
that  could  cause  a  sense  of  imbalance,  some  dangerous  and 
some  transient.  He  might  have  had  high  blood  pressure, 
Meniere's  syndrome,  or  a  middle-ear  infection.  He  might 
even  have  had  a  brain  tumor.  And  maybe  he  was  only  suf- 
fering from  sporadic  seasickness. 

Gary  continued  his  recall  of  the  morning  of  February 
24.  Loren  Edwards  was  lying  on  the  cockpit  floor,  bleed- 
ing heavily.  Jody  had  rushed  up  from  tending  to  Kerry,  to 
kneel  beside  her  husband.  While  Gary  and  Jody  tried  to 
help  Loren,  Lori  Huey  had  taken  over  the  helm. 

"We  tried  to  stop  the  bleeding,"  Gary  continued, 
although  he  didn't  specify  where  the  blood  was  coming 
from.  "I  gave  him  artificial  respiration  while  my  mother 
did  a  chest  massage." 

But  nothing  helped,  and  Loren  died  soon  after. 

"After  that,  my  stepmother  sat  in  the  cockpit  all  day 
Friday  with  Lori,  just  staring  and  talking.  She  was  in 
shock,  of  course,"  Gary  said.  "She  would  say,  'Why  me?' 
or  'Not  again  .  .  .'" 

Still,  Gary  told  Eloise  Schumacher  that  none  of  them 
ever  thought  that  Jody  might  be  suicidal.  She  had  always 
been  a  strong  woman — both  physically  and  emotionally. 
Jody  stayed  with  Lori  almost  all  the  time,  leaving  only  to 
check  on  Kerry,  get  a  blanket,  or  go  to  the  head. 

The  long  day  and  night  passed,  and  Lori  and  Gary  kept 
sending  out  distress  signals  on  the  radio.  Kerry  wasn't 
able  to  do  much  because  of  her  head  injury. 

197 


ANN  RULE 

A^nd  then,  almost  exactly  twenty-four  hours  after  her 
husband  died,  Jody  Edwards  was  gone,  too.  "I  heard  a  shot 
and  I  ran  across  the  deck,"  Gary  said.  "Jody  had  shot  her- 
self with  my  pistol. 

"I'd  been  setting  a  sail,  Lori  had  gone  to  the  head,  and 
Kerry  was  lying  in  her  bunk  when  it  happened." 

In  shock,  with  the  South  Pacific  sun  beating  down  on 
them,  they  drifted,  becalmed,  in  the  heedless  ocean.  Except 
for  Lori  Huey,  they  were  all  injured,  and  Lori  couldn't  stay 
at  the  helm  all  the  time. 

Gary  Edwards  said  he  didn't  know  where  they  were. 
"My  injured  hand  was  so  swollen  that  I  couldn't  adjust  the 
sextant  properly." 

Gary  and  the  two  girls  talked  over  what  they  should  do. 
They  didn't  want  to  bury  Loren  and  Jody  at  sea  so  far 
from  home,  but  they  didn't  know  how  long  it  would  be 
until  they  were  able  to  reach  shore — some  kind  of  shore. 
They  didn't  even  know  how  far  away  they  were  from  land, 
and  the  sun  grew  hotter.  And  so,  just  as  Kerry  had  told  the 
ham-radio  operator  at  the  LAX  airport,  Gary,  Kerry,  and 
Lori  had  wrapped  the  couple  in  their  sleeping  bags  and 
then  bound  the  cocoonlike  "coffins"  with  heavy  chains. 
They  said  a  prayer  and  watched  the  bodies  slip  silently 
into  the  sea. 

"All  I  can  tell  you,"  Gary  told  Eloise  Schumacher,  "is 
they're  buried  at  sea  someplace  north  of  Rangiroa." 

Kerry  Edwards  and  her  half  brother  both  appeared  to 
be  telling  believable,  straightforward  stories — and  yet  they 
differed  in  many  instances.  Kerry  believed  that  she  and 
her  father  had  been  struck  at  the  same  time  by  the  wildly 
swinging  boom,  but  Gary  said  she  was  mistaken.  "Kerry 

198 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

was  in  her  bunk  asleep  when  she  got  hurt — and  ,1  don't 
know  how  she  got  hurt.  She  doesn't  remember,  really." 

In  another  interview,  Kerry  agreed  that  her  father  had 
been  "dizzy"  during  the  trip,  but  she  felt  she  knew  why. 
Before  they  hit  the  open  sea,  he  had  stepped  from  his  boat 
to  another  and  injured  his  shin.  It  had  become  infected, 
and  she  thought  that  had  probably  caused  him  to  have  an 
ear  infection,  too. 

That  was  highly  unlikely,  but  it  seemed  apparent  that 
Loren's  balance  had  been  compromised.  There  was  no 
longer  any  way  to  determine  whether  he  suffered  from  an 
ear  infection,  soaring  blood  pressure,  or  other  ailments. 
There  could  be  no  autopsy.  His  body  drifted  in  the  sea, 
lost  forever. 

And  Kerry's  own  skull  fracture  could  have  clouded  her 
judgment.  She  had  admitted  that  she  slept  through  most  of 
the  vital  period  after  she  and  her  father  were  injured. 

It's  almost  impossible  to  put  oneself  in  the  place  of  the 
three  shocked  and  frightened  survivors  of  the  Spellbound^ 
tragic  voyage.  To  be  adrift  at  sea,  not  knowing  where  you 
were,  and  faced  with  one  calamity  after  another,  would 
leave  almost  anyone  with  post-traumatic  shock. 

Gary  Edwards  was  adamant  that  he  wasn't  anxious  to 
return  to  the  United  States.  "I  won't  leave  Tahiti  until  I'm 
ready  to,"  he  said  flatly.  "I  don't  think  about  leaving.  It 
could  be  two  days  or  two  years  before  I  take  off." 

Eloise  Schumacher  was  puzzled.  She  thought  he  would 
have  been  eager  to  get  away  from  the  far-from-home  spot 
where  his  family  had  virtually  disintegrated.  He  pointed 
out  that  there  were  several  practical  reasons  why  he  could 
not  leave  what  he  called  his  "tropical  prison." 

199 


ANN  RULE 

The  search  party  on  the  charter  boat,  and  the  search 
plane  that  had  been  called  in,  still  had  to  be  paid  for  their 
time,  fuel,  and  expertise.  That  would  cost  $3,500.  Gary 
said  he  didn't  have  that  at  the  moment.  Moreover,  his  visa 
had  expired,  and  the  French  police  were  withholding  his 
passport  until  he  could  pay  the  debt. 

The  Seattle  Times  reporter  asked  Gary  about  the  inves- 
tigation of  his  parents'  deaths  that  was  currently  being  car- 
ried on  by  a  federal  grand  jury,  the  FBI,  and  the  Coast 
Guard. 

"They  know  I'm  here.  What  can  they  do  to  me?"  Gary 
answered  angrily.  "If  they  want  me,  they  can  come  down 
here  and  get  me.  I'm  not  going  anywhere.  I'm  in  no  hurry 
to  argue  with  anybody  at  home.  I  don't  care  what's  going 
on  there.  I  don't  want  to  go  argue  with  a  grand  jury  which 
has  no  idea  what  it  is  like  to  be  in  the  middle  of  the  ocean 
with  two  bodies  in  the  hot  sun  all  day.  My  going  back  and 
debating  won't  solve  a  thing. 

"They  can  believe  whatever  they  dariin  well  want." 

It  was  hard  for  Eloise  Schumacher  to  judge  the  man. 
He  was  certainly  bitter,  and  perhaps  he  felt  guilty  because 
he  hadn't  been  able  to  save  his  father  or  perceive  his  step- 
mother's suicidal  state.  He  knew  that  he  was  under  suspi- 
cion; he'd  been  questioned  enough  by  French  police.  He 
had  suffered  great  personal  losses,  too. 

Gary  Edwards  admitted  that  remaining  in  Papeete  was 
an  escape  of  sorts,  a  way  to  postpone  his  grief  about  his 
parents.  Once  he  was  back  in  the  States,  the  awful  reality 
of  the  tragedy  couldn't  be  denied. 

And  still,  living  on  the  sailboat  gave  him  an  eerie  feel- 


200 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

ing,  especially  when  night  settled.  "I  walk  through  the 
places  where  my  mother  and  father  lay  I  see  the  blood- 
stains on  the  floor  and  on  the  deck.  I  see  the  places  where 
the  FBI  and  the  Coast  Guard  drove  holes  to  get  blood 
samples  .  .  ." 

In  essence,  Gary  felt  he  was  trapped  in  paradise,  bound 
by  his  burden  to  protect  the  Spellbound,  which  had  meant 
so  much  to  his  parents.  The  ketch  had  been  a  shining 
dream,  but  now  it  was  an  albatross. 

"Do  you  feel  ostracized?"  Eloise  Schumacher  asked. 
"The  Tahiti  Bulletin  seems  to  have  a  story  about  your  fam- 
ily's loss  in  their  paper  almost  every  day." 

He  shook  his  head.  "No,  I  don't  feel  unwelcome  or 
ostracized.  People  here  are  kind." 

Gary  wasn't  alone.  An  old  friend  of  his  from  Canada 
had  come  over  to  live  aboard  with  him,  and  he  had  a 
French  girlfriend  he'd  met  in  Tahiti. 

"I'm  not  worried  about  running  out  of  money.  It  only 
costs  about  $3.60  a  day  to  moor  my  ship  at  the  quay,  along 
the  main  road." 

Ironically,  Gary  Edwards  had  found  work  as  an  extra  in 
a  TV  movie  being  filmed  in  Tahiti:  Overboard.  It  was 
based  on  a  book  about  a  sailboat  that  had  met  with  a  disas- 
ter at  sea. 

Like  his  father,  Gary  Edwards  was  a  skilled  carpenter, 
and  he  worked  other  jobs  painting  and  repairing  boats. 
When  he  wasn't  working,  he  spent  his  time  swimming, 
visiting  the  colorful  native  markets,  and  working  on  the 
Spellbound.  Except  for  his  injured  wrist,  which  he  said 
was  healing  rapidly,  he  was  in  excellent  physical  shape. 


201 


ANN  RULE 

Even  so,  he  dreaded  the  thought  of  sailing  his  parents' 
sailboat  again.  Papeete  and  Rangiroa  were  so  far  from 
American  territory.  Sailing  to  Hawaii  would  require  a 
month  or  more. 

"I  can't  face  the  ocean  again  so  soon.  The  trip  from 
here  to  there  [Hawaii]  would  kill  me." 

Gary  wanted  to  sell  the  Spellbound.  He  couldn't  visual- 
ize himself  ever  sailing  her  again.  "It  will  always  be  my 
parents'  boat,  and  it  will  always  have  their  bloodstains. 
The  only  way  to  get  rid  of  them  is  to  replace  the  boat." 

He  sounded  like  Lady  MacBeth  saying  "Out,  damned 
spot!"  as  she  tried  to  scrub  the  imagined  blood  from  her 
hands.  If  he  had  to,  he  could  live  for  a  year  in  Tahiti  for  a 
thousand  dollars,  but  he  would  have  to  live  on  what  had 
become  a  ghost  boat,  surrounded  by  gruesome  reminders 
of  two  incomprehensible  deaths.  And  money  to  pay  off  the 
search  parties  and  to  sail  the  ship  away  wasn't  that  easy  to 
come  by.  In  the  initial  frantic  days  after  they  landed  in 
Rangiroa,  he  had  requested  fimds  from  home,  and  he'd 
received  $2,500  from  his  parents'  estate. 

The  elder  Edwardses'  bank  in  Kirkland  had  called 
Papeete  and  asked  that  that  money  be  returned  because  it 
was  part  of  their  estate.  No  one  had  been  able  to  find  a 
will.  Gary  said  Loren  had  told  him  once  that  he'd  written 
a  will,  and  built  a  secret  compartment  in  the  fifty-four- 
foot  sailboat  for  important  papers. 

"I  would  almost  have  to  destroy  the  boat  to  find  that 
compartment,"  Gary  sighed.  "I  have  looked  in  all  the  obvi- 
ous places  and  I  haven't  found  it." 

A  long  time  later,  that  will  and  insurance  papers  were 


202 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

located  back  in  Seattle,  but  it  would  be  years  before  the 
probate  case  could  be  closed. 

One  thing  investigators  discovered  was  that  there  had 
been  several  guns  on  board  the  Spellbound.  None  of  them 
had  been  declared  to  customs  for  fear  that  they  would  be 
seized.  Jody  Edwards  had  known  where  they  were.  Beyond 
the  Walther  automatic  handgun  that  Gary  brought  in  his 
seabag,  there  were  two  rifles  and  a  shotgun. 

"My  father  made  the  decision  not  to  declare  our  guns 
when  we  went  through  customs  in  the  Marquesas  Islands  " 
Gary  recalled. 

When  he  was  asked  if  he  knew  how  long  the  survivors 
had  drifted  at  sea  after  Jody  Edwards  died  on  February  25, 
he  felt  it  had  been  only  about  fourteen  hours  before  the 
rescuing  chartered  boat  found  them,  and  that  they  made 
port  in  Rangiroa  by  10:30  that  Saturday  night.  His  father 
had  been  dead  for  forty  hours  then,  and  his  mother  only 
since  the  wee  hours  of  Saturday  morning. 

"The  girls  were  very  messed  up  mentally,"  Gary 
recalled.  They  had  been  flown  to  Papeete  the  next  day — 
Sunday — ^where  they  were  questioned  by  French  detec- 
tives. Gary  had  arrived  on  Monday.  When  the  police  saw 
how  seriously  Kerry  was  injured,  she  was  hospitalized. 

"Lori  and  I  were  kept  separated,  and  questioned  for 
hours" 

Gary  adamantly  denied  that  the  rumors  and  innuendos 
that  were  floating  around  Tahiti  and  beginning  to  appear  in 
the  local  paper  bothered  him.  The  reason  was  simple:  the 
gossip  wasn't  true. 

"Let  everyone  talk,"  he  said.  "I  know  what  I  did  was 


203 


ANN  RULE 

right,  and  I'm  not  ashamed  of  it.  I  don't  care  what  happens 
now.  When  I  decide  to  come  back  to  Seattle,  I  will.  But  I 
may  sail  around  the  world  first.  You  never  know." 

Back  home  in  Washington  State,  Lori  Huey  and  Kerry 
Edwards  struggled  to  pick  up  the  ragged  threads  of  their 
lives.  They  knew  that  relatives  and  friends  were  baffled 
over  discrepancies  in  their  recall  and  Gary's.  But  shock, 
severe  injury-,  grief,  panic,  and  being  viewed  as  murder 
suspects  in  a  foreign  country  would  certainly  unhinge  any- 
one. One  moment,  they  had  almost  reached  their  exotic 
destination,  and  the  next  blood  ran  on  the  decks  of  the 
Spellbound. 

Kerry  told  reporters  that  the  FBI  special  agents  had 
warned  her  against  making  statements  on  the  tragedy.  She 
would  say  only  that  she  was  feeling  a  great  deal  better, 
and  was  well  enough  to  start  working  part-time  in  a  pizza 
parlor. 

Lori  sought  a  peaceful  escape  from  her  memories  of 
horror  by  taking  a  hiking  and  camping  trip  high  in  the 
Cascade  Mountains.  It  was  a  totally  different  ambiance 
there  from  the  tropical  islands  of  the  South  Pacific.  The 
wind  in  the  Cascades  smelled  of  fir,  spruce,  and  pine,  and 
the  soft  patter  of  raindrops  on  her  tent  helped  to  erase  her 
memory  of  the  relentless  heat  off  Rangiroa. 

Lori's  attorney  had  told  her  she  didn't  have  to  talk  to 
reporters,  and  even  though  she  had  no  guilty  knowledge  of 
what  happened  on  the  Spellbound,  he  said  it  would  be  bet- 
ter to  avoid  talking  to  the  media. 

She  hoped  to  find  a  job  when  she  climbed  on  down  the 
mountain  pass,  and  somehow  get  on  with  her  life. 

Lori's  friends,  however,  told  the  Seattle  Times  that  Lori 

204 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

had  described  the  events  of  February  24  and  25  just  as 
Gary  had.  Loren  had  died  almost  instantly  when  struck  by 
the  boom,  and  Jody  had  committed  suicide  in  her  over- 
whelming sorrow.  There  had  been  nothing  any  of  them 
could  do. 

For  those  who  found  truth  in  the  paranormal,  it  was 
easy  to  believe  that  the  Spellbound  was  under  an  evil  spell, 
covered  with  a  suffocating  blanket  of  bad  luck. 


There  were  so  many  questions  left  unanswered.  Why 
would  Jody  Edwards  have  chosen  to  commit  suicide,  leav- 
ing her  children  adrift  in  the  open  sea?  Most  mothers  will 
overlook  even  the  most  intense  pain  and  grief  to  be  sure 
their  children  get  to  safe  harbor.  Kerry  needed  her  on  that 
dread  dawn  of  February  25;  her  twenty-year-old  daughter 
v/as  critically  injured,  and  no  one  on  board  seemed  to 
know  what  had  happened  to  her.  Perhaps  Jody  believed 
they  were  all  lost  anyway,  perishing  from  disorganization 
and  panic  without  Loren  there  to  calm  them  with  his 
strength  and  commion  sense. 

With  Jody  dead,  there  would  be  only  Gary  (with  one 
useless  hand)  and  petite  Lori  to  bring  their  boat  safely  into 
harbor,  where  Kerry  could  get  medical  care.  Wouldn't 
Jody  have  chosen  to  stay  with  them — at  least  until  they 
were  all  safe? 

Again,  it's  almost  impossible  to  judge  the  state  of  mind 
of  someone  suddenly  plunged  into  disaster. 

There  was  also  the  puzzle  of  Kerry's  memory.  She  was 
sure  she'd  been  with  her  father  when  he  was  struck  in  the 
head,  and  that  she  had  been  struck,  too.  But  Gary  contra- 

205 


ANN  RULE 

dieted  her  and  insisted  she  had  suffered  her  skull  fracture 
when  she  was  sleeping  below  deck  in  her  bunk.  When  the 
sailboat  lurched  with  sudden  wave  action,  she  could  have 
been  going  to  the  head,  or  getting  a  drink  of  water,  and 
fallen,  striking  her  brow  on  something  hard  and  sharp.  But 
Gary  insisted  she  was  in  her  bed  when  he  first  heard  her 
whimpering  in  pain.  How  had  she  managed  to  crawl  back 
into  her  bunk? 

As  always,  when  witnesses  refuse  to  talk  publicly,  there 
was  suspicion.  Grand  jury  hearings  are  secret,  held  behind 
closed  doors,  but  most  laymen  weren't  aware  of  that.  They 
wondered  if  the  Edwardses  had  family  skeletons  or  vola- 
tile relationships  that  had  exploded  into  violence.  That 
was  the  romantic  notion  of  true  gothic  tradition  and  soap 
operas,  but  if  there  was  any  substance  behind  the  whis- 
pered questions,  the  grand  jury  would  surely  have  returned 
indictments  against  someone. 

And  they  did  not. 

A  few  people  who  were  not  on  the  Spellbound  that 
night  wondered  aloud  if  it  was  possible  for  pirates  to  have 
killed  Loren  and  injured  Kerry,  strangers  bent  on  robbery 
who  had  glided  silently  up  to  the  sailboat  in  the  dark  and 
crept  aboard,  unseen. 

If  so,  why  hadn't  they  attacked  the  other  three  people 
on  board,  too?  That  explanation  was  a  long  shot — but 
possible. 

One  couple  who  lived  on  Papeete  had  known  Loren  and 
Jody  and  their  family  well,  after  they  went  on  several 
cruises  with  a  platoon  of  sailboats  in  American  waters. 
They  didn't  know  what  to  think  about  the  Edwardses' 


206 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

deaths.  They  had  heard  the  rumors  that  said  Gary  had 
killed  them,  but  they  tried  to  be  fair  with  him  and  often 
invited  him  over  to  supper.  He  was  always  polite  and 
grateftil  for  a  home-cooked  meal. 

On  one  of  those  nights,  their  daughter,  Gwen,*  who 
was  in  her  early  twenties,  was  visiting  them. 

"I  didn't  approve  of  their  associating  with  him,  because 
I  thought  he  might  be  dangerous,"  Gwen  recalled.  "I  think 
he  sensed  that." 

According  to  Gwen,  when  her  parents  invited  Gary 
over  for  supper,  he  had  glared  at  her  throughout  the  meal. 
After  he  finally  left,  she  made  her  parents  promise  never  to 
ask  him  again. 

"He  scared  me,"  she  said.  "I  felt  as  though  he  hated 
me — or  maybe  he  just  hated  women  in  general." 

Several  months  later,  Gwen  was  in  Hawaii  when  Gary 
and  two  m.en  he'd  hired  to  help  him  bring  the  Spellbound 
there  showed  up.  The  two  crewmen  were  pleasant  enough, 
and  they  didn't  seem  to  have  any  alliance  with  Gary 
Edwards  beyond  being  hired  for  a  pickup  job. 

"It  was  the  oddest  thing,"  Gwen  explained  in  2009.  "I 
was  walking  up  the  dock,  talking  to  the  two  guys,  and 
1  saw  Gary  coming  toward  us.  He  looked  surly,  as  usual, 
but  he  didn't  say  anything.  When  he  came  abreast  of  us,  he 
picked  me  up  by  my  wrists — with  just  one  hand — and 
dangled  me  over  the  edge  of  the  dock,  banging  me  into  the 
logs  and  concrete  there. 

'I  was  afraid  he  was  going  to  drop  me,  but  he  was  so 
strong.  He  pulled  me  back  up  and  dropped  me  on  the 
dock.  I  was  bruised  and  hurt,  but  he  just  walked  away." 


207 


ANN  RULE 

Gary  Edwards's  crewmen  were  shocked  by  what  their 
captain  had  just  done.  They  helped  Gwen  up  and  dusted 
her  off,  and  walked  her  to  a  safe  place. 

"They  quit  crewing  for  him  right  then,"  Gwen  recalled. 
"They  didn't  want  to  get  back  on  the  boat  with  him. 

"I  never  saw  him  again,  and  that  was  fine  with  me." 

In  the  fall  of  1978,  Gary  sailed  the  Spellbound  into 
Richmond,  California.  He  had  taken  care  of  his  visa  diffi- 
culties and  was  finally  free  to  head  for  the  United  States, 
where  the  ketch  would  undergo  repairs.  Gary  stayed  with 
the  boat. 

He  hoped  to  sell  it.  It  had  been  a  millstone  around  his 
neck  for  eight  months,  a  constant  reminder  of  what  hap- 
pened in  those  ghastly  predawn  hours  in  February. 


Two  years  afi:er  the  tragedy  occurred,  Larry  Edwards 
signed  an  affidavit  accusing  his  brother  of  being  "the 
slayer"  of  their  parents.  The  motive  was  rumored  to  be 
for  financial  profit,  and  to  cover  up  an  attempted  sexual 
attack  on  Kerry  Edwards  as  she  slept.  Because  of  her 
fractured  skull,  she  didn't  remember  what  had  happened. 

If  Loren  and  Jody's  deaths  were  engineered  by  their 
son,  how  could  it  be  proven?  There  were  no  witnesses— at 
least  none  who  cared  to  talk  about  it.  There  were  no  bodies 
to  be  autopsied  for  cause  or  time  of  death. 

The  elder  Edwardses'  estate  consisted  mainly  of  their 
modest  home  and  their  magnificent  sailing  craft,  which 
was  dry-docked  in  California.  There  was  a  good  chance 
that  it  would  always  be  considered  a  "bad-luck"  boat,  and 


208 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

sailors  are  notoriously  superstitious.  Would  anyone  risk 
sailing  it? 

The  Spellbound's  value  had  plummeted,  but  it  was 
probably  still  worth  over  $100,000.  Despite  its  original 
$200,000  value,  the  ship  was  not  insured.  Gary  Edwards 
said  his  parents  had  decided  against  buying  insurance 
when  they  learned  it  would  cost  20  percent  of  the  boat's 
value  in  premiums  each  year.  Only  very  wealthy  boat  own- 
ers could  afford  $40,000  a  year  for  insurance.  And  while 
they  were  sailing  around  the  world,  Loren's  income  would 
have  been  much  reduced. 

The  Spellbound  was  sold  in  the  summer  of  1979  for 
$1 10,000.  And  that  amount  was,  according  to  Loren  and 
Jody's  wills,  to  be  divided  equally  five  ways — to  their 
children. 

Faced  with  his  brother's  accusations,  Gary  Edwards  re- 
nounced any  claim  to  his  share  of  that  money  on  Friday, 
December  21,  1980. 

"I  already  know  I  am  innocent,"  he  said.  "Whatever 
share  of  the  estate  I  might  receive  would  probably  be  ex- 
hausted in  a  long  and  bitter  legal  battle.  To  fight  this  self- 
ish battle  for  the  sake  of  convincing  others  is  not  worth  it. 
I  will  not  be  a  part  of  a  ghoulish  rehashing  of  details  for 
the  sake  of  blood  money." 

For  five  years,  Jody  and  Loren  Edwards  had  worked  on 
the  Spellbound.  They  built  it,  outfitted  it,  sanded  and  var- 
nished it  again  and  again,  laid  out  its  huge  sails,  always 
dreaming  of  the  day  they  would  sail  into  the  balmy  breezes 
of  the  South  Pacific — even  while  Northwest  rain  pounded 
down  on  them. 


209 


ANN  RULE 

Had  they  had  any  way  of  knowing  how  it  would  all  end, 
they  surely  would  never  have  laid  the  keel.  All  the  sanding 
and  varnishing  of  the  deck  of  the  ship  that  languished  in 
Papeete  for  so  long  could  never  quite  erase  the  blood  shed 
there. 


No  one  was  ever  arrested,  and  the  investigation  into  Loren 
and  Jody's  deaths  sank  into  oblivion  decades  ago.  Gary, 
Kerry,  and  Lori  have  slipped  into  obscurity — as  they 
wanted  to.  He  would  be  almost  sixty  now,  and  the  two 
young  women  in  their  fifties.  IVe  tried,  but  I  cannot  find 
them.  Even  the  Seattle  Times  reporters  who  came  as  close 
to  unraveling  the  secrets  of  the  Spellbound  as  anyone — 
Eloise  Schumacher  and  Peyton  Whitely — had  to  take  a 
few  beats  to  remember  the  story  because  they  wrote  it  so 
many  years  ago. 

Whitely  said  he  was  startled  a  few  years  ago  to  walk 
down  the  dock  where  he  had  once  known  Loren  and  Jody 
as  neighbors. 

And  there  it  was:  the  Spellbound.  It  had  a  different  name, 
but  he  recognized  the  yellow  fiberglass  hull.  There  was  no 
question  that  it  was  the  same  ketch.  The  people  working  on 
it  were  unfamiliar  to  him,  but  Whitely  introduced  himself 
and  asked  the  man  if  he  was  the  owner.  He  nodded. 

"Do  you  know  the  history  of  this  boat?"  the  longtime 
reporter  asked. 

"Can't  say  I  do." 

But  the  current  owner  was  curious  to  know  more  about 
the  thirty-year-old  sailboat.  Whitely  hesitated,  wondering 
if  he  should  tell  what  he  knew. 

210 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE 

The  man  listened  avidly,  but  when  he  learned  of  the 
Edwardses'.  fatal  cruise,  it  didn't  alarm  him.  Indeed,  he 
found  it  intriguing. 

Where  the  Spellbound  is  today  I  don't  know.  But  I  will 
always  think  of  her  as  the  symbol  of  a  lost  dream. 


211 


SHARPER  THAN 

A  SERPENT'S 

TOOTH 


I've  probably  mentioned  this  before,  but  it's  worth 
repeating.  After  several  decades  as  a  true-crime  writer,  I 
still  find  myself  stumped  by  legal  terms  from  time  to  time. 
We  all  do.  Most  laymen  still  believe  that  the  term  "corpus 
delicti"  refers  to  the  body  of  a  murder  victim.  It  doesn't. 
This  misconception  has  been  perpetuated  by  the  fact  that 
corpus  is  the  Latin  root  word  for  "corpse."  But,  in  correct 
usage,  corpus  delicti  doesn't  mean  a  victim's  body  at  all. 
Instead,  it  refers  to  the  body  of  a  crime — all  the  elements 
that  indicate  a  crime  has  been  committed.  Detectives  and 
prosecutors  have  to  prove  to  judges  and  juries  that  they  have 
enough  evidence — ^both  physical  and  circumstantial — -to 
show  that  a  crime  has  been  committed. 

An  actual  corpse  may  or  may  not  be  part  of  the  corpus 
delicti.  If  an  adult  disappears,  he  or  she  may  have  left  of 
their  own  accord,  and  they  are  fi"ee  to  do  that.  But  if  there 
are  eyewitnesses  to  violence  to  tell  their  stories,  or  a  purse 
or  keys  left  behind,  or  traces  or  even  puddles  of  blood  evi- 
dent at  a  possible  crime  scene,  then  a  rational  person 
would  tend  to  believe  that  that  missing  person  did  not 
choose  to  step  out  of  his  life.  Probably  the  most  telling 

215 


ANN  RULE 

evidence  is  the  fingerprint  of  a  victim  or  a  suspect  left  in 
dried  blood.  One  or  both  of  them  were  there  when  that 
blood  was  wet. 

Did  someone  have  a  motive  for  the  absent  person  to 
come  to  harm?  There  are  myriad  variables  that  can  prove  a 
homicide  has  been  committed:  Has  the  suspected  target 
for  violence  been  seen  anywhere?  Has  he  cashed  a  check, 
drawn  money  out  of  a  bank,  used  a  credit  card,  made  calls 
on  a  cell  phone,  or  attempted  to  collect  Social  Security? 
We  all  leave  paper  trails  that  we  are  unaware  of  If  there  is 
no  trail  at  all,  investigators  begin  to  believe  the  person 
who  has  vanished  is  no  longer  alive. 

They  don't  have  to  find  a  body  to  prove  murder,  and 
more  and  more  homicide  cases  have  been  solved  in  recent 
years  without  any  part  of  the  victim's  body  being  found. 

There  are  other  ways. 

Even  so,  it  takes  a  prosecutor  with  a  lot  of  guts  to  file 
murder  charges  against  a  suspect  when  the  corpse  of  an 
alleged  victim  is  missing,  hidden  under  water,  in  the 
ground,  or  beneath  cement. 

There  is  always  the  chance  that  the  victim  may  show 
up,  alive  and  healthy,  or  that  he  has  simply  chosen  to  dis- 
appear for  his  own  obscure  reasons. 

Convictions  in  homicides  in  which  no  body  was  dis- 
covered and  identified  are  still  rare,  but  the  advent  of  DNA 
as  an  investigative  tool  has  made  identification  much  eas- 
ier than  it  was  before  the  eighties  and  nineties.  Perhaps 
I've  written  about  a  dozen  "no  body"  cases  in  my  career. 
Not  that  many  out  of  the  hundreds  I've  researched. 

Columbia  County,  Oregon,  District  Attorney  Marty 
Sells  did  obtain  a  successful  conviction  in  the  case  of 

216 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

school  bus  driver  Vicki  Brown  in  the  midseventies,  al- 
though her  corpse  is  still  missing  today.  That  defendant 
was  the  first  to  be  found  guilty  of  murder  in  Oregon — 
though  no  body  was  found — in  eighty  years. 

One  conviction  in  the  state  of  Washington  where  no 
body  was  ever  found  occurred  in  1965  in  Snohomish 
County,  when  Joel  A.  Lung  was  found  guilty  of  murder  in 
the  death  of  his  estranged  wife. 

When  Lung  appealed,  State  Supreme  Court  Justice 
Matthew  W  Hill  wrote:  "The  production  of  the  body  or 
parts  thereof  is  not  essential  to  establish  that  a  homicide 
has  been  committed.  All  that  is  required  is  circumstantial 
evidence  sufficient  to  convince  the  minds  of  reasonable 
men  to  a  moral  certainty  of  the  fact  of  death  to  the  exclu- 
sion of  every  other  reasonable  hypothesis." 

Anne  Marie  Fahey,  who  lived  in  Wilmington,  Delaware, 
literally  disappeared  from  the  face  of  the  earth — but  Tom 
Capano,  a  major  political  figure  in  the  area,  was  convicted 
of  her  murder,  and  of  wedging  her  body  into  a  Styrofoam 
cooler,  which  he  tossed  into  shark-filled  waters.  Anne 
Marie  never  surfaced,  but  the  telltale  cooler  did. 

Steven  Sherer  went  to  prison  for  killing  his  wife,  Jamie, 
in  Redmond,  Washington,  even  though  no  one  found  her 
remains.  A  forensic  anthropologist  testified  in  Sherer's 
trial  that  a  grave  didn't  have  to  be  a  six-foot-deep  rectan- 
gular space;  a  petite  woman  like  Jamie  could  be  hidden 
forever  in  a  relatively  small  hole  dug  on  wild  land. 


The  grisly  case  that  faced  King  County,  Washington,  sher- 
iff's investigators  and  prosecuting  attorneys  in  November 

217 


ANN  RULE 

1978  certainly  had  all  the  earmarks  of  a  bloody  murder. 
Yet  they  had  no  body.  They  did  have  highly  suspicious — 
and  bizarre — circumstances,  and  enough  blood  to  con- 
vince them  that  no  one  could  have  lost  so  much  and 
remained  alive. 

WHien  Lorraine  Curtis  Millroy*  and  her  husband  moved 
into  their  spacious  tri-level  home  in  the  Eastgate  area  near 
Bellevue  in  1 954,  they  looked  forward  to  years  of  happi- 
ness. This  was  true  of  many  young  couples  who'd  been 
torn  apart  by  World  War  II.  Millroy  had  a  good  job  at  the 
Boeing  Airplane  Company,  and  Lorraine  also  qualified  for 
skilled  positions  during  most  of  their  marriage,  taking 
time  off  to  raise  a  family. 

In  September  of  1955,  they  welcomed  their  first  child,  a 
red-headed  boy  they  named  Dustin  Lex.*  Thiee  years 
later,  they  had  a  little  girl,  Amy.*  As  the  youngsters  grew 
up,  the  family  made  many  close  friends  in  the  tightly  knit 
neighborhood.  Millroy  rose  to  higher  levels  at  Boeing,  and 
their  marriage  was  sound. 

It  was  a  good  time  in  America  then — a  peaceful  period 
between  wars.  The  Korean  War  was  far  away.  Families 
barbecued  in  their  backyards,  kids  had  sandboxes  and 
wading  pools.  It  was  safe  for  Girl  Scouts  to  sell  cookies 
door-to-door. 

But  the  Millroys  fell  victim  to  a  changing  world,  a 
world  where  family  solidarity  evaporated  when  teenagers 
became  part  of  a  heretofore  unknown  drug  culture.  Their 
cozy  brown-and-white  brick  home  was  torn  with  dissen- 
sion, and  all  their  hopes  for  the  fiiture  disappeared. 

Thanksgiving  1978  was  a  bleak  holiday  for  the  Mill- 
roys. Lorraine's  husband  wasn't  at  the  head  of  the  table;  he 

218 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

v/as  working  for  Boeing  in  Kansas,  but  they  were  sepa- 
rated by  more  than  miles,  and  he  had  filed  for  divorce. 

Dustin  Millroy  had  changed  so  much  that  neighbors 
and  even  his  longtime  high  school  and  college  friends 
were  stunned  by  his  appearance  and  his  state  of  mind.  The 
guy  who'd  always  been  "mellow"  had  changed  radically. 
At  twenty-three.  Dusty  was  reclusive,  erratic,  and  para- 
noid. He  was  convinced  that  the  CIA  was  out  to  get  him. 

Lorraine  had  done  her  best  to  make  the  holiday  calm 
and  happy,  but  she  was  fighting  overwhelming  odds.  Her 
daughter  was  home  from  Bellingham,  where  she  attended 
Western  Washington  University.  She  had  brought  her  boy- 
friend with  her,  and  they  tried  to  help  calm  things  down. 
Lorraine  cooked  a  turkey  and  made  pumpkin  pies  as  she 
always  had,  and  tried  to  make  the  day  appear  to  be  a  regu- 
lar Thanksgiving. 

But  the  atmosphere  was  strained.  Dusty  remained  in  his 
basement  bedroom  most  of  the  time,  refusing  to  join  the 
group.  His  sister  saw  that  he  had  descended  further  into 
his  weird  fantasy  life. 

Lorraine  confided  to  her  daughter  that  Dusty 's  behavior 
was  getting  stranger  and  stranger.  "I'm  actually  afraid  of 
him,"  she  said  with  desperation  in  her  voice.  "I  want  him 
out  of  the  house.  But  I  don't  know  whom  to  call.  I  couldn't 
do  it  last  time  " 

Dusty  had  recently  had  a  psychotic  episode,  bursting 
from  their  house  and  running  naked  through  the  streets. 
His  mother  had  tried  to  have  him  committed  then,  but  a 
law  passed  in  Washington  a  few  years  before  made  it  im- 
possible to  commit  an  individual  unless  he  could  be  de- 
clared dangerous  to  himself  or  others. 

219 


ANN  RULE 

No  one  felt  that  Dusty  was  that  dangerous.  Not  his  phy- 
sician or  the  authorities  or  even  his  mother.  But,  on  this 
Thanksgiving  Day,  Lorraine  believed  he  was  dangerous  to 
himself — and  she  feared  he  was  a  threat  to  others,  too. 

The  Millroy  family  managed  to  get  through  the  holiday 
without  a  major  scene,  Dusty 's  sister  and  her  boyfriend 
headed  back  to  college,  and  once  again,  Lorraine  was 
alone  with  the  son  she  scarcely  recognized  anymore. 

On  Monday,  November  27,  Lorraine  Millroy's  neigh- 
bors were  startled  when  they  received  a  call  from  her 
supervisor  at  the  research  lab  where  she  worked  as  a  sec- 
retary. Lorraine  hadn't  come  to  work  that  morning.  She 
was  an  extremely  punctual  member  of  the  staff,  and  she 
had  never  before  failed  to  show  up  for  work  without  call- 
ing to  say  she  was  ill  or  that  she  had  family  problems.  She 
always  called. 

Several  times  during  that  Monday,  Lorraine's  neighbors 
attempted  to  reach  her  by  telephone,  but  it  rang  endlessly 
and  no  one  picked  it  up.  Then  they  had  gone  over  to  knock 
on  her  door.  There  was  no  response  at  all. 

When  both  Lorraine  and  Dusty  were  home,  her  friends 
were  used  to  seeing  four  vehicles  parked  in  the  driveway 
next  to  their  house:  two  Volkswagen  "bugs,"  an  orange  and 
white  Chevy  van,  and  an  old  Buick  that  belonged  to  Dusty. 
Lorraine  was  the  only  one  who  drove  the  van;  she  never 
allowed  Dusty  to  borrow  it. 

Now,  it  was  gone.  The  beat-up  Buick  sedan  was  still 
there. 

Lorraine's  closest  neighbor's  husband  came  home  from 
work  around  4:30.  None  of  the  women  had  been  able  to 
locate  Lorraine,  and  they  were  afraid  to  go  inside.  While 

220 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

they  held  back,  Jim  Breakey*  went  next  door  to  try  to 
raise  someone  at  the  Millroy  residence.  He  pounded  on 
the  door  again,  and  then  waited,  listening  for  some  re- 
sponse from  inside.  But,  again,  no  one  answered. 

He  was  worried,  toe.  Everyone  who  lived  nearby  knew 
how  deeply  Dusty  was  involved  with  drugs.  They  also 
knew  that  Lorraine  was  depressed  and  concerned  about 
her  son — and  that  she  was,  as  she  said,  "scared  to  death  of 
him." 

It  was  getting  harder  and  harder  to  remember  the  cute 
little  red-haired  kid  who  had  once  been  part  of  the  happy 
group  of  children  who  grew  up  together.  Dusty  had  lost 
his  way  and  couldn't  seem  to  find  a  path  back  to  sanity — 
nor  did  he  appear  to  want  to. 

It  had  been  dark  for  almost  three  hours,  and  it  was  sup- 
pertime.  At  6:15,  Lorraine's  van  pulled  into  her  driveway. 
Peeking  through  their  curtained  windows,  her  anxious 
neighbors  recognized  Dusty  Millroy  in  the  driver's  seat. 
They  watched  him  as  he  walked  into  the  house — alone. 
And  then  they  walked  over  and  knocked  on  the  Millroys' 
front  door  again.  No  one  answered,  so  they  called  his 
name,  trying  to  persuade  him  to  let  them  in.  They  knew  he 
was  inside,  but  he  refused  to  respond  to  their  knocks  and 
calls — nor  would  he  answer  the  phone  when  they  dialed 
the  Millroys'  number. 

The  neighbors  felt  a  cold  chill  that  had  nothing  to  do 
with  the  wintry  weather.  Something  was  terribly  wrong  at 
the  Millroy  house. 

Realizing  they  had  to  do  something,  they  called  the 
King  County  SheriiT's  Office  at  6:39,  reporting  "suspi- 
cious circumstances."  No  one  knew  if  Lorraine  had  left  of 

221 


ANN  RULE 

her  own  volition,  if  she  was  hiding  in  some  part  of  her 
home,  if  she  was  injured,  or,  worse,  was  no  longer  alive. 
None  of  them  wanted  to  speculate  aloud  on  that  possibil- 
ity. Somehow  if  they  said  it,  that  might  make  it  true. 

Deputies  Ray  Green,  J.  J.  Chilstrom,  and  Leo  Hursh  re- 
sponded, and,  after  listening  to  the  neighbors'  fears,  the 
officers  agreed  that  they  had  had  good  reason  to  call  in. 

The  deputies  attempted  to  get  an  answer  to  their  knocks 
at  the  Millroy  home,  but  they  had  no  more  response  than 
Lorraine's  neighbors  had. 

The  Millroy  house  was  blazing  with  lights  on  inside, 
but  most  of  the  drapes  were  pulled.  Chilstrom  peered  into 
the  living  room  where  the  curtains  didn't  quite  close,  and 
he  could  see  two  women's  purses  and  some  papers  sitting 
on  the  grate  inside  the  fireplace.  They  didn't  appear  to  be 
burned,  and  it  looked  as  if  there  hadn't  been  a  real  fire 
there  for  a  long  time.  He  could  also  see  a  sleeping  bag  on 
the  floor  of  the  room. 

Deputy  Leo  Hursh  walked  around  the  perimeter  of  the 
house,  aiming  his  flashlight  along  the  ground  and  toward 
doors  and  windows,  not  even  sure  what  he  was  looking 
for.  What  he  found  didn't  ease  anyone's  mind.  On  the 
south  side  of  the  house  near  the  carport  area,  Hursh  found 
dark  red  stains  on, the  basement  doorknob.  It  could  be 
paint,  but  it  would  take  a  true  optimist  to  believe  that. 

The  three  deputies  looked  through  the  windows  of  the 
orange  van  parked  in  the  driveway.  There  were  more  red 
splotches  on  the  van's  interior  and  on  rags  and  a  sheet  of 
three-quarter-inch  plywood  inside.  An  ax  lay  on  the  rear 
seat  of  the  van,  its  blade  covered  with  a  rug. 


222 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

Supervising  Sergeant  Mike  ConnaUy  and  Detective 
John  Tolton  joined  the  deputies  outside  the  MiHroy  home. 
The  circumstances  were  no  longer  only  suspicious;  they 
were  ominous. 

Periodically,  the  sheriff's  men  banged  on  the  front  door, 
but  if  anyone  was  inside,  they  didn't  answer.  Dusty  could 
have  slipped  out  another  door  while  worried  neighbors 
waited  for  police. 

None  of  Lorraine's  friends  had  a  key  to  her  house  to 
use  in  case  of  an  emergency.  They  could  break  a  window 
or  force  a  door,  but  the  deputies  didn't  want  to  do  that  if 
they  didn't  have  to.  ConnaUy  and  Hursh  noticed  that  the 
front-door  lock  was  the  same  make  as  the  locks  on  their 
own  homes.  It  was  a  long  shot,  but  it  was  worth  a  try, 

ConnaUy 's  house  key  went  in,  but  it  wouldn't  turn.  Leo 
Hursh 's  turned,  clicked,  and  the  front  door  swung  open. 

"Police!"  they  called  out,  entering  the  home.  There  was 
no  reply.  With  their  hands  on  their  guns,  the  officers 
moved  cautiously  through  the  silent  house. 

When  they  got  to  the  kitchen,  they  stopped,  appalled. 
The  room  looked  like  an  abattoir.  There  was  no  question  at 
all  what  the  red  stains  were.  Blood  was  splashed  on  the 
stove  and  on  brightly  polished  pots  and  pans  hanging 
above  it.  A  mahogany  trail  snaked  across  the  kitchen  floor, 
ending  at  the  top  of  the  basement  stairway.  They  followed 
it  down  the  steps.  There,  they  found  great  quantities  of 
blood  on  the  basement  floor  and  on  the  carport  door.  Who- 
ever had  bled  this  profusely  had  to  be  either  dead  or  criti- 
cally injured. 

They  peered  into  a  bedroom  in  the  basement.  The 


223 


ANN  RULE 

unmade  bed  was  piled  deep  with  all  kinds  of  junk — 
clothes,  books,  remains  of  food.  There  were  bloody  tis- 
sues on  the  nightstand,  and  the  room  was  generally  in 
disarray. 

Lorraine's  friends  told  them  that  this  would  be  Dusty 
Millroy's  room.  She  had  complained  to  them  that  Dusty 's 
room  was  as  jumbled  and  full  of  trash  as  his  mind  had  be- 
come. 

In  stark  comparison,  the  tastefully  decorated  basement 
recreation  room  was  neat — ^with  one  major  exception. 
Someone  had  piled  cushions  from  the  van  on  top  of  the 
couch.  They  wondered  if  that  person  had  needed  to  make 
room  in  the  van  for  a  large  object,  a  human-sized  object? 

It  wasn't  cold  in  the  Millroy  home,  but  the  searchers 
felt  a  chill,  feeling  as  though  they  were  in  a  horror  movie, 
not  a  pleasant  house  in  the  suburbs  of  Bellevue.  They  had 
found  only  bloodstains,  but  that  was  more  than  enough. 
They  expected  to  find  the  source  of  those  stains  in  each 
room  they  entered. 

But  they  had  yet  to  find  anything — or  anyone. 

They  came  to  a  locked  door:  the  basement  bathroom.  It 
could  be  locked  only  from  the  inside,  and  they  knew 
someone  was  in  there.  Again,  they  called  out:  "King 
County  Sheriff — come  out." 

Only  dead  silence  answered  them. 

Sergeant  Connally  and  Deputy  Hursh  picked  the  lock 
with  a  nail,  and  turned  the  knob. 

Dusty  Millroy  was  inside.  He  was  seated  on  the  floor 
facing  the  door,  and  he  held  a  small-caliber  pistol,  aimed 
right  at  them. 

"Put  the  gun  down,"  Leo  Hursh  said. 

224 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

Dusty  stared  back  at  him,  his  eyes  wild — ^but  Hursh 
could  tell  he  was  debating  with  himself  about  what  he  was 
going  to  do. 

"Put  it  someplace  where  you  can't  reach  it,"  Connally 
said  firmly,  "I'm  going  to  count  to  five." 

Finally,  Dusty  tossed  the  gun  behind  the  vanity  sink. 

With  his  scraggly  beard  and  mustache  and  his  long  red 
hair  falling  to  his  waist.  Dusty  Millroy  looked  like  a  crazed 
mountain  man.  He  wore  only  a  pair  of  stained  trousers. 

The  King  County  officers  took  him  upstairs  to  the  liv- 
ing room  and  read  him  his  Miranda  rights.  He  said  he  un- 
derstood, and  initialed  the  card.  He  complained  of  being 
cold,  and  he  told  Hursh  where  to  find  his  boots  and  brown 
corduroy  jacket.  The  boots  were  muddy,  and  the  jacket  had 
dark  blotches  on  it. 

"Are  those  bloodstains?"  Detective  Tolton  asked. 

"Naw — ^they're  just  grease  spots." 

Millroy 's  explanation  for  the  condition  of  the  home  he 
shared  with  his  mother  was  vague,  if  not  downright  pecu- 
liar. He  didn't  really  know  what  had  happened  or  where 
his  mother  was.  He  said  he'd  taken  her  van  and  driven 
east,  heading  up  toward  Snoqualmie  Pass  because  he  "felt 
like  getting  away." 

"Why  did  you  take  the  van?"  Deputy  Hursh  asked.  "We 
understand  that  isn't  your  vehicle." 

"Well,  it  was  raining  for  one  thing  and  the  rear  win- 
dow's broken  out  of  my  car." 

"Where  did  you  go — exactly?"  Tolton  asked. 

"To  Cle  Elum  [a  small  town  about  forty  miles  east  of 
the  Snoqualmie  Pass  summit].  I  wanted  to  get  out  of  the 
city.  Besides,  I  was  scared  and  I  felt  really  weird." 

225 


ANN  RULE 

"Do  you  know  where  your  mother  is?"  Hursh  asked. 
They  would  phrase  this  question  a  dozen  different  ways, 
and  their  suspect  always  shook  his  head. 

He  continued  to  deny  that  he  had  any  idea  where  his 
mother  might  be.  It  was  a  mystery  to  him. 

There  was  clearly  no  point  in  pursuing  this  line  of  ques- 
tioning. If  Dusty  knew,  he  wasn't  going  to  tell  them.  They 
arrested  him  for  investigation  of  murder  and  transported 
him  to  the  King  County  Sheriff's  Office  in  Seattle. 


Back  at  the  crime  scene,  the  sheriff's  investigators  took 
statements  from  neighbors.  One  woman  recalled  seeing 
Dusty  arrive  at  the  Millroy  home  that  morning  about  9:00. 
"He  was  driving  his  old  Buick.  He  pulled  into  the  drive- 
way, and  then  pulled  it  forward.  I  said  hello  to  him,  and  he 
just  stared  at  me,  but  that  wasn't  unusual  for  him. 

"I  went  bowling  then,  and  when  I  got  back  at  eleven  I 
got  a  call  from  another  neighbor  who  said  no  one  could 
find  Lorraine.  I  walked  over  to  her  house  and  saw  that 
Lorraine's  van  was  gone.  Then  the  van  pulled  in  around 
six  and  I  sent  my  teenage  son  over  to  see  who  was  driving 
it.  He  came  back  and  said,  'You're  not  going  to  like  it,  but 
Dusty  was  driving  it.' 

"My  son  said  that  Dusty  was  staggering  as  he  walked 
from  the  van  to  the  house.  That  wasn't  unusual,  either." 
"What  was  he  wearing  at  that  time?" 
"Jeans,  his  sheepskin  jacket — and  cowboy  boots." 
Her  neighbors  all  agreed  that  the  missing  woman — 
whom  they'd  last  talked  to  on  Saturday,  November  25 — 
had  been  in  a  good  mood  then.  They  had  the  impression 

226 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

that  she'd  made  a  major  decision  in  her  life  and  was  about 
to  carry  out  her  decision. 

"I  think  it  had  to  do  with  Dusty,"  the  woman  who  lived 
directly  across  the  street  said.  "We  all  knew  he  needed  to 
be  locked  up  and  have  some  treatment,  but  she  had  a  hard 
time  coming  to  terms  with  that.  She  just  seemed  kind  of 
relieved  the  last  time  I  talked  to  her." 

All  of  the  people  who  were  interviewed — most  of 
whom  had  known  Lorraine  Millroy  for  twenty-five 
years — were  aware  that  Dusty  had  had  psychiatric  prob- 
lems and  that  his  mother  had  been  terribly  worried  about 
him,  even  to  the  point  of  being  afraid  of  him.  None  of 
them  had  heard  from  her,  or  had  any  idea  where  she  was, 
but  as  the  days  went  by,  they  feared  for  her  life. 

A  recent  photograph  of  Lorraine  Millroy  appeared  in 
several  papers  in  Bellevue,  Seattle,  and  other  parts  of  King 
County,  with  an  accompanying  article  that  asked  for  any 
information  on  her  the  public  might  know.  She  was  fifty- 
one,  with  reddish  blond  hair,  blue  eyes,  and  she  weighed 
130  pounds,  perfect  for  her  height  of  five  feet  five. 

No  one  came  forward. 


At  12:30  on  the  afternoon  of  Tuesday,  November  28,  Lieu- 
tenant Frank  Chase  interviewed  Dusty  Millroy  in  his  of- 
fice at  the  King  County  Courthouse.  Detective  Sam  Hicks 
witnessed  the  interview,  which  elicited  statements  that 
were  peculiar,  .to  say  the  least. 

Dusty  said  his  sister  and  her  boyfiiend  had  stayed  with 
him  and  his  mother  all  through  the  four-day  Thanksgiving 
holiday.  He  had  said  good-bye  to  them  as  they  were  about 

227 


ANN  RULE 

to  leave  to  return  to  Bellingham  on  Sunday  night,  Novem- 
ber 26. 

"I  went  down  to  my  room  about  eight  and  locked  my 
door,"  he  recalled.  "I  ate  some  popcorn  and  fell  asleep. 
When  I  woke  up  this  morning — yesterday  morning  now,  I 
guess — I  walked  into  the  kitchen.  There  was  a  mess  on  the 
floor." 

"What  did  the  mess  look  like?"  Lieutenant  Chase 
asked. 

"Goop — a  lot  of  goop." 

"Goop?" 

"Blood — kind  of  like  blood.  But  it  could  have  been 
chicken  grease.  I  thought  maybe  my  mother  had  killed  a 
chicken  in  there.  I  took  some  rags  and  tried  to  clean  it  up. 
My  mother  gets  mad  at  me  if  I  leave  a  mess — she  fines  me 
two  dollars — so  I  cleaned  it  the  best  I  could." 

Asked  if  he  ever  had  arguments  with  his  mother,  Millroy 
said  that  they'd  argued  about  two  weeks  before  because  he 
hadn't  paid  his  rent,  and  he'd  been  overdue.  "She  nagged 
me  about  it  and  we  did  have  a  fight  then." 

"Did  you  have  another  argument  yesterday  morning?" 

Dusty  shook  his  head.  "No — when  I  got  up,  she  was 
gone.  I  figured  her  boyfriend  had  given  her  a  ride  to  work, 
because  all  our  cars  were  still  there." 

"How  about  the  night  before?  Did  you  argue  then?" 

"No,  like  I  said,  my  sister  was  there  and  her  boyfriend — 
we  made  popcorn,  and  I  went  down  to  my  room  and  didn't 
come  up  all  night." 

"But  you  took  a  trip  over  the  mountains,  you  say.  Why 
was  that  again?" 


228 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

"I  guess  when  I  saw  aU  that  stuff  on  the  kitchen  floor,  I 
assumed  my  mother  was  dead,  and  that  didn't  make  me 
very  happy.  I  had  to  get  out.  I  was  afraid  of  being  kiUed 
myself." 

Dusty  Millroy  admitted  that  he'd  taken  his  mother's 
purses  and,  after  removing  the  credit  cards,  had  placed 
them  on  the  fireplace  grate. 

"Why  did  you  do  that?" 

"I  don't  know.  I  really  don't  know." 

Chase  saw  that  Millroy  was  searching  for  answers.  Pos- 
sibly he  didn't  know  why  he'd  done  whatever  he  had  done. 
Or  maybe  he  was  being  deliberately  vague.  They  still 
hadn't  found  his  mother. 

Dusty  Millroy  also  admitted  he'd  had  the  .22-caliber 
gun,  the  one  he  pointed  at  the  sheriff's  men,  for  some 
time. 

"I  got  it  for  protection,"  he  said,  but  didn't  say  who  he 
was  afraid  of 

"Did  you  ever  fire  it  in  the  house?" 

"There  would  have  been  bullet  holes  and  cartridges  in 
the  kitchen  ifi'd  fired  it" 

Frank  Chase  didn't  ask  him  why  he  had  said  "kitchen," 
when  he'd  been  asked  about  firing  his  gun  in  the  whole 
house. 

The  investigators  at  the  Millroy  home  had  found  all 
manner  of  incriminating  evidence  in  Lorraine  Millroy's 
orange  van:  bloody  rags,  blood,  a  shovel,  and  the  sheet  of 
plywood.  That  was  the  most  telling  physical  evidence 
they'd  ever  seen.  There  was  a  portrait  in  blood  etched  into 
the  grain  of  the  plywood  sheet;  dried  now,  it  formed  a 


229 


ANN  RULE 

grotesque  and  telling  pattern.  The  outline  of  a  body  was 
as  clear  as  if  it  had  been  deliberately  drawn  with  dark  red 
paint.  Even  the  pelvic  girdle  was  perfectly  outlined. 

When  Lieutenant  Chase  asked  Millroy  about  the  items 
in  the  van,  he  had  a  ready  answer.  "I  found  all  that  stuff 
there  when  I  got  into  the  van  to  take  my  drive  into  the 
mountains.  I  had  a  feeling  that  if  I  went  for  that  ride  across 
Snoqualmie  Pass,  it  would  lead  me  to  my  mother." 

Asked  why  he  had  begun  to  clean  up  the  house  where 
he  and  his  mother  lived.  Dusty  seemed  angry.  "I  shouldn't 
have  cleaned  up  anything,"  he  blurted.  "I  always  get  stuck 
with  things." 

He  insisted  that  he  hadn't  dragged  anything  around 
through  the  house — as  the  trail  of  blood  suggested. 

"Why  was  the  green  plastic  tarp  in  the  back  of  your 
mother's  van?" 

"That  was  what  I  used  to  cover  the  broken  window  in 
my  car." 

Chase  drew  a  sketch  of  the  bloody  outline  on  the  ply- 
wood panel,  but  Dusty  Millroy  had  no  explanation  for  that 
either.  "I  didn't  see  any  blood  on  the  panel  when  I  looked 
into  the  van.  I  don't  know  how  it  got  there." 

"Dusty,  do  you  know  where  your  mother  is?"  Chase 
asked  quietly. 

"No." 

Dusty's  rambling  statements  didn't  make  sense  at  all, 
and  they  contradicted  each  other.  He  alluded  to  "vibes"  he'd 
received  that  told  him  to  drive  to  Cle  Elum,  thinking  he 
might  find  his  mother  there.  The  vibes  had  told  him  that  his 
mother  might  be  near  Peoh  Point  Road,  where  he  had  once 
ridden  trail  bikes. 

230 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

"What  else  did  the  vibes  teH  you?"  Chase  asked. 

"That  she  would  not  be  too  far  off  the  road." 

"On  top  of  the  ground  or  in  a  grave?" 

"It  wouldn't  be  deep — with  rocks  on  top." 

"Did  you  leave  anything  in  Cle  Elum?" 

"Nothing.  I  got  stuck  twice  in  the  snow  up  there.  Once 
some  guys  from  Puget  Power  pulled  me  out,  and  the  sec- 
ond time,  some  forest  rangers  pulled  me  out." 

This  was  true.  Detectives  had  already  talked  with  the 
crews,  who  remembered  the  strange  young  man  with  the 
long  red  hair  who  had  been  silent  and  truculent  as  they 
helped  to  dig  his  orange  van  out  of  the  snow  in  the  wilder- 
ness areas  near  Cle  Elum. 

As  the  lengthy  interview  continued.  Dusty  Millroy 
acknowledged  that  his  mother  was  probably  dead.  He  said 
he  figured  that  someone  had  killed  her  and  taken  her  away. 

"I  was  saved  only  because  I  was  locked  in  my  basement 
room  with  my  gun  for  protection  all  night."  He  seemed 
oblivious  to  the  impression  he  was  making  on  the  detec- 
tives. He  was  young,  strong,  and  if  there  had,  indeed,  been 
a  killer  in  the  house,  most  sons  would  have  protected  their 
mothers.  Yet  he  had  saved  himself 

The  chance  that  his  story  was  true  was  slight,  but  it  was 
clear  he  was  either  lying  or  was  psychotic  enough  that  he 
believed  what  he  was  saying. 

Lieutenant  Chase  left  the  interview  room;  he  had  been 
playing  the  role  of  the  "good  cop,"  in  the  time-honored 
interview  technique  of  good  cop/bad  cop.  While  Chase 
had  pretended  to  be  understanding.  Hicks  had  watched 
him  with  suspicious  eyes. 

Now,  Sam  Hicks  confi^onted  Dusty  Millroy,  mincing  no 

231 


ANN  RULE 

words.  He  looked  at  Dusty  with  distaste,  and  the  tension  in 
the  room  was  palpable. 

"We  believe  that  you  found  your  mother  in  the  kitchen 
of  your  house  early  Monday  morning,"  the  tall,  dark- 
haired  detective  said.  "You  killed  her  and  you  drove  her 
body  away  in  her  van — " 

Dusty  denied  everything,  but  Hicks  kept  on  talking. 

"You  dumped  her  body  somewhere  in  the  woods  near 
Snoqualmie  Pass — maybe  near  Peoh  Point  Road." 

Millroy  fidgeted  and  finally  said,  "I  may  have  carried 
her  out — but  I  didn't .  .  ." 

He  stopped  before  he  said  the  words  "kill  her." 

"Why  would  you  'carry  her  out'?"  Hicks  asked. 

Dusty  clamped  his  mouth  shut  and  refused  to  say  more. 
Nor  would  he  allow  hair  samples  to  be  taken  from  his 
body.  They  would  have  to  get  a  search  warrant  to  do  that. 
They  could,  but  it  would  take  more  time. 

At  5:10  p.m.,  Dusty  Millroy  was  booked  into  the  King 
County  Jail  on  suspicion  of  homicide. 


On  November  29,  Detective  Frank  Tennison  and  Sergeant 
Dave  Urban  searched  the  canyon  behind  the  Millroys' 
house  for  hours.  They  found  no  sign  whatsoever  of  Lor- 
raine's body. 

A  search  warrant  was  obtained  for  the  orange  van, 
which  had  been  sealed  since  the  first  night  deputies  were 
summoned  to  the  Millroys'  house.  It  had  been  transported 
to  covered  storage  on  a  flatbed  truck  so  that  any  bits  of 
brush  or  soil  caught  underneath  wouldn't  be  lost. 

Tolton  and  Hursh  processed  the  van,  going  through  it 

232 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

inch  by  inch.  They  found  two  strands  of  hair  caught  in  the 
rear  doors.  The  blood  inside  the  van  was  type  A,  but,  at 
this  point,  no  one  knew  what  the  missing  woman's  blood 
type  was.  And,  in  1978,  DNA  identification  was  years  in 
the  future. 

The  chances  that  Lorraine  Millroy  was  going  to  show 
up  alive  and  well  were  almost  nil.  But  where  was  she?  And 
what  had  happened  through  the  years  to  Dusty  Millroy 
that  had  left  him  in  this  rambling,  disoriented  state? 

Lorraine's  estranged  husband  was  on  his  way  back  from 
Wichita,  Kansas,  and  their  daughter  was  coming  from  Bell- 
ingham  to  talk  to  detectives.  Hopefully,  they  could  fill  in 
some  of  the  gaps  in  the  macabre  story.  Amy  Millroy  talked 
with  investigators  Sam  Hicks  and  Frank  Tennison.  She 
verified  that  she  and  her  boyfriend  had  been  home  for  the 
Thanksgiving  holiday,  leaving  Sunday  night.  At  that  time, 
her  mother  had  been  in  a  "cheerftil"  frame  of  mind,  and 
Dusty  had  locked  himself  in  his  room,  a  scenario  that  had 
become  "almost  normal"  for  their  home. 

"But  it  was  very  difficult  for  my  mother  to  feel  positive 
about  her  life,"  she  added. 

Amy  recalled  that  her  mother  had  tried  in  the  past  to 
get  Dusty  to  move  out  and  start  a  life  of  his  own.  She 
wanted  him  to  take  care  of  his  financial  responsibilities. 
But  Dusty  hadn't  been  able  to  make  it  on  his  own,  and  he'd 
soon  ended  up  living  in  his  car. 

Worried  about  him,  Lorraine  Millroy  had  always  re- 
lented, and  allowed  him  to  move  back  in.  Her  mother  had 
also  tried — in  vain — to  get  Dusty  into  psychiatric  treat- 
ment. But  he  was  adamant  that  he  wouldn't  go. 

"My  brother  has  caused  so  much  upheaval  in  our 

233 


ANN  RULE 

family,"  Amy  sighed.  She  said  she  blamed  him  for  their 
father  opting  out  of  the  whole  situation,  filing  for  divorce 
and  accepting  a  job  in  Boeing's  Wichita  division.  "My 
mom's  been  on  her  own,  trying  to  deal  with  Dusty." 

Amy  said  that  Dusty  had  last  worked  as  a  mechanic  for 
a  business  that  maintained  fleet  automobiles  for  corporate 
use.  Although  he  had  been  talented  in  many  areas  and 
highly  intelligent,  all  that  changed  when  her  brother  had 
gotten  heavily  into  LSD  about  a  year  before. 

"He  uses  it  regularly  on  weekends." 

In  the  sixties,  Timothy  Leary  and  actor  Gary  Grant, 
along  with  many  other  celebrities,  praised  the  hallucino- 
genic as  a  miraculous  breakthrough  to  expand  the  mind. 
Lysergic  acid  stimulated  the  brain  to  see  fantastic  colors 
and  remarkable  scenes,  along  with  terrifying  delusions. 
Those  who  touted  it  were  sure  that  it  was  the  panacea  for 
all  manner  of  ills  in  the  body  and  mind.  Of  course  it 
wasn't,  and  Dusty 's  brain  was  only  one  of  thousands  that 
had  been  overwhelmed  by  the  visions  and  out-of-body 
sensations  the  drug  produced. 

"I  believe  he  also  tried  PGP,"  Amy  said.  "They  call  it 
'Angel  Dust,'  I  think." 

The  detectives  knew  about  PGP,  which  surfaced  in  the 
midseventies.  It  was  considered  an  "elephant  tranquilizer" — 
an  extremely  powerfLil  drug  that  gave  those  who  ingested  it 
superhuman  strength  and  badly  mangled  brains. 

Amy  said  that  Dusty  and  his  roommate  at  Evergreen 
State  GoUege  in  Olympia,  Washington,  had  been  so  en- 
trenched in  the  drug  world  that  they  were  barely  attending 
classes,  and  they  had  failed  to  finish  the  quarter  there. 


234 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

Their  experiences  were  only  two  among  thousands  of  trag- 
edies that  were  facing  parents  aH  over  America.lt  seemed 
that  Lorraine  Millroy's  awful  fate  might  be  one  of  the 
worst. 

The  King  County  detectives  learned  the  names  of  sev- 
eral of  Dusty 's  friends  who  had  ridden  trail  bikes  with  him 
and  had  a  list  of  possible  spots  where  Dusty  might  have 
abandoned  his  mother's  body.  A  concentrated  grid  search 
with  sheriff's  personnel,  volunteers,  and  necrosearch  dogs 
went  on  for  days — netting  nothing. 

Sergeant  Hicks  and  Detective  Tolton  interviewed  Dusty 
Millroy  again.  Vaguely,  Dusty  said  he  thought  he  had  trav- 
eled between  ten  and  twenty  miles  from  the  area  where  he 
had  first  been  stuck  in  the  snow  on  Snoqualmie  Pass,  and 
the  second  time  the  van  foundered,  when  he'd  been  dug 
out  by  forest  rangers.  Even  though  1-90  cut  a  fairly  narrow 
path  between  rock  outcroppings  that  rose  steeply  on  both 
sides  of  the  freeway,  that  would  be  an  almost  impossibly 
large  area  to  search  for  a  body  in  the  snow. 

"Tell  me  again  why  you  left  your  house  on  Monday 
morning?"  Hicks  asked, 

"How  would  you  feel  if  your  mother  had  just  been  mur- 
dered in  the  house?  I  was  afraid,"  Dusty  said  morosely. 

Lorraine's  employer  told  detectives  that  Lorraine  had 
been  a  close  friend  as  well  as  an  employee,  and  they 
had  shared  confidences.  "She  was  afraid  of  Dusty.  She 
wanted  him  out  of  the  house." 

The  hunt  for  Lorraine  Millroy's  body  now  extended 
into  adjacent  Kittitas  County,  east  of  the  King  County 
line.  A  crew  from  that  sheriff's  office  reported  that  they 


235 


ANN  RULE 

had  found  nothing  at  all  in  any  of  the  spots  Dusty  Millroy  j 
had  been  known  to  frequent  in  the  past.  Nor  were  there  \ 
any  indications  that  Lorraine's  body  had  been  in  either  of 
the  locations  where  the  orange  van  had  been  stuck. 

Sergeant  Sam  Hicks 's  search  for  Lorraine's  blood  t}^pe 
was  just  as  frustrating.  He  checked  back  through  all  her 
places  of  employment,  all  her  health  insurance  companies, 
physicians,  dentists,  and  hospitals,  but  he  found  that,  for 
one  reason  or  another,  either  her  blood  type  had  never 
been  recorded  or  some  of  her  files  had  been  lost. 

Lorraine's  health  was  good;  her  biggest  problem  was 
the  agony  she  suffered  emotionally  as  she  tried  to  deal 
with  Dusty.  Her  most  recent  doctor  verified  that  she  had 
asked  for  help  in  getting  Dusty  to  a  psychiatrist  and  that  a 
referral  had  been  made. 

But  Dusty  never  went. 

Hicks  received  a  phone  call  from  Amy  Millroy.  She  and 
her  father  had  returned  to  the  Eastgate  home  and  found 
several  items  that  disturbed  them.  Lorraine's  bedroom 
slippers  were  there,  and  as  far  as  they  could  determine,  so 
were  all  her  other  clothes. 

Amy  believed  that  her  mother  had  probably  tinted  her 
hair  sometime  after  Amy  and  her  boyfiiend  left  the  Sun- 
day night  after  Thanksgiving  to  return  to  college. 

"She  usually  did  that  in  the  morning.  We  found  the 
shower  cap  she  used  for  that  in  Dusty 's  room." 

They  had  also  found  some  clothing — Dusty's — that  had 
been  washed  and  left  to  molder  in  the  washing  machine. 
Faint  reddish  stains  were  still  apparent  on  the  sleeve  of 
one  shirt. 

It  was  now  the  first  week  in  December,  and  every  pos- 

236 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

sible  area  where  Lorraine  MiUroy's  body  might  be  hidden 
had  been  searched  by  the  King  and  Kittitas  County  detec- 
tives and  volunteers. 

She  was  simply  gone. 

She  could  be  buried  under  the  deep  snow  that  began  in 
the  foothills  a  few  miles  east  of  her  home  or  perhaps 
somewhere  farther  up  on  Snoqualmie  Pass.  If  this  was 
true,  it  would  be  spring  before  the  great  snowbanks  began 
to  thaw  and  slough  off.  Until  then,  no  one  would  be  able  to 
find  her  body. 


Lieutenant  Chase  and  his  investigators  conferred  with  the 
King  County  prosecutor's  senior  trial  deputy,  Lee  Yates, 
and  Yates  agreed  that  there  was  enough  evidence  to  go 
ahead  with  a  formal  charge  of  second  degree  murder 
against  Dusty  Millroy.  In  his  affidavit  to  the  court,  Yates 
stated,  "Despite  the  lack  of  a  body,  the  evidence  is  consis- 
tent solely  with  the  fact  that  Millroy  killed  his  mother  and 
disposed  of  her  body." 

To  substantiate  his  argument,  Yates  cited  the  volumi- 
nous blood  that  had  been  found  in  at  least  six  different 
locations  in  the  Millroy  home.  Although  they  had  yet  to 
establish  Lorraine  Millroy 's  blood  type,  the  blood  in  her 
van  and  the  blood  in  her  house  were  both  type  A.  Yates 
referred  to  the  body  shape  imprinted  in  dried  blood  on  the 
plywood  sheet  in  the  van,  the  bloody  plastic  tarp,  and 
ropes  and  rags  found  in  the  van.  He  was  fully  prepared  to 
pursue  the  state's  case — even  if  Lorraine  Millroy  was 
never  found. 

"No  one  has  seen  Lorraine  Millroy  since  the  night  of 

237 


ANN  RULE 

November  26,"  Lee  Yates  told  Superior  Court  Judge  Frank 
Roberts,  "nor  has  any  paper  trail  turned  up." 

Roberts  agreed  with  Yates's  assertions.  Dustin  Lex 
Millroy,  twenty-three,  was  charged  with  second-degree 
murder  on  December  6.  Christmas  trees  and  bright  lights 
adorned  the  courthouse,  while  office  holiday  parties 
spilled  the  sound  of  laughter  into  the  marble  corridors. 

But  not  at  the  empty  house  in  Eastgate.  Thanksgiving, 
however  awkward  it  had  been,  had  undoubtedly  been  the 
last  family  celebration  for  the  Millroys. 


On  December  18,  two  elk  hunters  were  slogging  through 
the  snow  near  the  Taylor  River  Road  east  of  North  Bend, 
Washington.  It  wasn't  far  from  where  1-90  begins  its  climb 
to  the  summit  of  Snoqualmie  Pass,  and  close  to  the  road — 
just  as  Dusty  Millroy  had  once  visuahzed  where  his 
mother's  body  was,  according  to  his  account  of  nightmares. 

The  hunters  recognized  coyote  tracks  and  followed 
them  to  what  at  first  appeared  to  be  the  carcass  of  a  deer. 

But  as  they  peered  closer,  they  saw  that  it  wasn't  a  deer 
or  any  other  wild  animal. 

Lorraine  Millroy  had  been  found. 

Sickened,  the  two  men  rushed  to  the  CB  radio  in  their 
truck  and  called  the  King  County  Sheriff's  Office.  It  was 
3:15  in  the  afternoon  when  Detective  Tolton  arrived,  fol- 
lowed shortly  by  Sergeant  Roy  Weaver,  Detective  Frank 
Atchley,  and  several  deputies. 

It  was  close  to  the  shortest  day  of  the  year,  and  the  sun 
was  already  descending  at  a  little  after  three  o'clock.  The 
sheriff's  men  raced  against  time  as  they  examined  the  ru- 

238 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

ined  remains  of  what  had  probably  once  been  an  attractive 
woman.  Her  body  was  nude,  save  for  a  bra  and  a  turquoise 
robe  partially  wrapped  around  her  head.  Her  hair  was 
freshly  colored  a  light  red  and  it  spread  out  brightly  over 
the  snow. 

Wild  animals  had  savaged  the  body,  stripping  the  flesh 
completely  away  from  the  right  arm.  Many  internal  organs 
were  missing  from  her  right  side.  At  this  point,  cause  of 
death  would  be  impossible  to  determine,  although  it 
looked  as  if  she  had  suffered  at  least  one  severe  stab 
wound  to  her  neck.  Animal  scavengers  tend  to  enter  a 
body  at  pomts  of  injury. 

By  4:30,  those  at  the  crime  scene  had  com_pleted  trian- 
gulation  measurements,  from  where  the  woman's  corpse 
lay,  to  trees,  rocks,  and  other  permanent  markers.  They 
could  always  return  here  and  pinpoint  where  the  victim 
was  found.  When  they  were  finished,  the  corpse  was 
placed  in  a  body  bag  for  transfer  to  the  King  County 
Medical  Examiner's  Office. 

The  next  morning,  Dr.  John  Eisele  performed  the  post- 
mortem exam  on  the  body  found  in  the  lonely  woods.  She 
had  not  suffered  only  a  single  wound;  she  had  been 
stabbed  again  and  again  in  the  neck  and  chest  area,  and 
animals  had  carried  off  her  right  lung,  heart,  liver,  gall 
bladder,  esophagus,  and  stomach.  Consequently,  there  was 
no  way  of  knowing  how  much  damage  those  organs  had 
suffered  in  the  attack.  There  was,  however,  evidence  of 
severe  hemorrhaging  in  the  jugular  vein.  Although  Eisele 
wouldn't  be  able  to  state  the  exact  cause  of  death,  he  esti- 
mated that  Lorraine  Millroy  probably  had  died  quickly  of 
internal  bleeding  after  a  savage  attack. 

239 


ANN  RULE 

Looking  at  her  hands,  Dr.  Eisele  opined  that  she  proba- 
bly had  had  little,  if  any,  warning.  "See,"  he  said  to  detec- 
tives. "Only  her  left  hand  bears  any  sign  of  a  defensive 
wound." 

Her  blood  type  was  A — as  expected.  And  her  finger- 
prints matched  samplers  of  Lorraine  Millroy's. 

With  her  daughter's  assistance,  it  was  possible  to  recon- 
struct Lorraine  Millroy's  last  day  on  earth.  She  had  proba- 
bly risen  early  on  Monday  morning — ^November  27 — so 
she  could  dye  her  hair  before  going  into  the  kitchen  to  fix 
breakfast.  She  must  have  been  in  the  kitchen  in  her  robe 
when  an  argument  with  Dusty  began.  And  it  had  proved  to 
be  the  last  argument  for  a  woman  who  had  done  her  best 
to  find  help  for  a  son  whose  brain  was  so  seared  by  drugs 
that  he  exhibited  classic  signs  of  paranoia. 

Lorraine's  husband  and  daughter  had  found  a  knife  in 
her  dishwasher,  a  knife  that  Lorraine  always  washed  by 
hand  to  preserve  the  wooden  handle.  The  knife's  measure- 
ments were  consistent  with  the  depth  and  width  of  the 
wounds  Lorraine  Millroy  had  suffered.  There  was  human 
blood  on  the  knife — but  not  enough  to  determine  the 
blood  type,  since  her  killer  had  run  it  through  the  steaming 
hot  dishwasher  cycle. 


Dusty  Millroy's  story  was  like  that  of  many  of  his  peers. 
He  had  been  raised  strictly  and  rebelled.  As  a  teenager,  he 
wasn't  allowed  to  wear  his  hair  long  or  have  it  cut  like  the 
Beatles'  hair,  the  way  some  of  his  classmates  wore  theirs. 
Now  it  hung  almost  to  his  waist. 


240 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

In  high  school,  Dusty  got  drunk  on  beer  and  smoked 
marijuana.  StiH,  he'd  always  had  an  even  temper  then,  and 
he'd  never  been  given  to  rages. 

Dusty  went  on  to  Bellevue  Community  College,  earning 
an  associate  degree  in  music  and  poetry — not  a  curriculum 
that  would  prepare  him  to  make  a  living,  unless  he  went  on 
to  get  higher  degrees. 

His  teenage  friends  had  considered  him  "an  ordinary, 
average  guy"  until  1975,  when  he  went  to  Evergreen  State 
College.  There,  everything  changed.  Evergreen  was  an 
avant  garde  college  that  fit  with  the  seventies,  a  school 
oriented  to  "doing  your  own  thing,"  and  where  personal 
growth  was  equally  as  important  as  something  so  prosaic 
as  grades.  This  approach  worked  extremely  well  for  highly 
intelligent  students  who  were  self-starters  and  could  man- 
age their  own  lives,  but  it  wasn't  the  best  college  for  oth- 
ers, and  drugs  weren't  rare  on  its -campus. 

And  it  was  a  beautiful  woodsy  campus  where  there  was 
no  dress  code,  but  many  brilliant  educators. 

Dusty  Millroy  was  one  of  those  who  gravitated  to  hard 
drugs.  As  he  took  more  and  more,  he  began  to  be  afraid, 
convinced  that  CIA  spies  were  watching  him  constantly. 
At  the  same  time,  he  refused  to  believe  that  his  constant 
ingestion  of  LSD  had  anything  to  do  with  his  paranoia  and 
delusions. 

By  1976,  his  condition  grew  worse.  His  old  friends 
were  shocked  to  see  how  much  weight  he'd  lost,  and  the 
ugly  open  sores  on  his  face  and  hands. 

One  friend  recalled  to  detectives,  "He  was  really  para- 
noid, talked  about  'losing  the  CIA.'  He  took  off  for  Ankara, 


241 


ANN  RULE 

Turkey,  and  he  was  really  doing  LSD.  I  never  dropped  him, 
but  his  attitude  about  government  spies  following  him  was 
totally  weird." 

Dusty's  family  confirmed  this.  They  had  heard  through 
the  U.S.  embassy  in  Turkey  that  Dusty  was  panhandling 
and  was  about  to  be  arrested  if  someone  didn't  send  him 
enough  money  to  leave  the  country.  They  forwarded 
funds,  and  he  was  sent  first  to  Germany  and  then  home, 
where  he  moved  in  with  his  mother. 

LSD — and  probably  other  drugs— had  burned  out  the 
mind  of  a  "brilliant,  quiet  child  who  had  never  before 
shown  a  sign  of  violence." 

The  constant  stress  that  Lorraine  Millroy  had  endured 
can  only  be  imagined;  she  was  in  the  middle  of  a  divorce, 
striving  to  earn  a  living,  and  at  her  wits'  end  trying  to  find 
help  for  her  son.  The  explosions  between  the  two  were  to 
be  expected.  She  never  knew  what  he  might  do,  and  she 
was  afraid — and  yet  she  had  attempted  to  keep  some  sem- 
blance of  normalcy  in  the  house.  Dusty  was  still  her  son, 
and  she  couldn't  bear  to  think  of  him  living,  cold  and  hun- 
gry, in  his  battered  old  car  with  its  broken  window,  with 
rags  stuffed  in  to  keep  out  the  freezing  temperatures. 

And  Lorraine  had  taken  him  back  home  again  and 
again,  a  home  that  was  immaculate  except  for  his  rat's  nest 
of  a  room.  Only  another  mother  would  understand  why 
she  couldn't  just  give  up  on  her  son. 

Still,  she  was  full  of  fear.  Her  neighbors  were  afi*aid  for 
her.  But  there  had  seemed  no  way  to  stop  the  inexorable 
path  of  tragedy  that  lay  ahead. 

With  the  discovery  of  Lorraine's  body,  prosecutor  Lee 
Yates  entered  another  charge;  Dusty  Millroy  was  now 

242 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

charged  with  first-degree  murder.  Before  a  trial,  however, 
he  would  undergo  ninety  days  of  observation  by  psychia- 
trists at  Western  State  Hospital  to  see  if  he  was  competent 
to  participate  in  his  own  defense. 

There  is,  of  course,  a  vast  difference  under  the  law 
between  clinical  insanity  and  legal  insanity.  Prosecutor 
Lee  Yates  and  Rebecca  Roe,  the  deputy  prosecutor  who 
would  assist  in  the  State's  case,  felt  that,  under  the 
M'Naughton  Rule,  Millroy  was  not  legally  insane.  He 
must  have  known  that  what  he  did  was  wrong:  he  had 
denied  his  crime,  made  efforts  to  cover  it  up,  hidden  the 
body — all  acts  of  a  man  who  realized  the  difference 
between  right  and  wrong  as  he  committed  murder. 

Sergeant  Sam  Hicks  had  felt  that  Millroy  was  "playing 
games"  with  him  when  Hicks  interrogated  him  after  his 
arrest.  And  Officer  Hursh,  who  had  talked  to  Millroy  in  his 
home  about  the  blood  spatters  on  the  wall,  felt  the  same 
way.  When  Hursh  had  asked  him  about  the  blood,  Millroy 
had  bristled,  "What  are  you  trying  to  do — nail  me  with  a 
homicide  beef?" 

Millroy  had  then  tried  to  explain  away  the  blood  by  say- 
ing he'd  had  a  severe  nosebleed  and  that  his  forehead  had 
then  broken  into  a  rash  and  had  begun  "dripping  blood." 

When  he  was  first  institutionalized.  Dusty  Millroy 
seemed  quite  withdrawn  and  disoriented.  However,  on  Feb- 
ruary 15,  he  called  Yates  and  said  he  wanted  to  talk  about 
obtaining  a  reduced  charge  of  second-degree  murder.  After 
advising  him  of  his  rights  under  Miranda  once  more,  Lee 
Yates  and  Sam  Hicks  had  an  extended  phone  conversation 
with  the  suspect.  Hicks  asked  Dusty  to  explain  the  differ- 
ence between  first-  and  second-degree  murder  in  his  own 

243 


ANN  RULE 

words,  and  Dusty  responded,  "Well,  first  degree  is  pre- 
meditated and  second  degree  is  spur  of  the  moment." 

His  grasp  of  the  fine  points  of  the  law  didn't  seem  to  be 
the  words  of  a  man  who  was  legally  insane. 

Finally,  Dusty  Millroy  was  ready  to  tell  them  for  the 
first  time  what  had  happened  on  the  morning  of  Novem- 
ber 27: 

"Okay.  After  I  woke  up,  I  killed  her,  okay?"  Millroy 
began. 

"How  did  this  happen?"  Sergeant  Hicks  asked. 

"It  was  just  spur  of  the  moment.  It  was  no  argument  or 
anything.  I  just  killed  her." 

Millroy  said  he'd  awakened  about  eight  or  nine  and 
found  his  mother  in  the  kitchen,  wearing  the  blue  bathrobe 
and  the  shower  cap.  He  said  he'd  glimpsed  the  knife  on  the 
counter. 

"Did  she  make  you  mad  or  something?"  Hicks  asked. 

"No,  she  didn't." 

"She  was  just  standing  there  and  you  got  mad  and 
stabbed  her?" 

"Yeah." 

Millroy  said  his  mother  had  been  facing  him,  had  said 
nothing,  and  that  he  really  had  no  idea  why  he  had  killed 
her. 

"What  did  you  do  with  the  knife?"  Hicks  asked. 

"I  stabbed  her  in  the  neck." 

"Did  you  stab  her  more  than  once?" 

"Yes,  I  did." 

"Where?" 

"Around  the  neck  and— and  once  or  twice  in  the  chest." 


244 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

"But  you  don't  know  why  you  did  it?" 

"No." 

"Did  you  have  bad  feehngs  about  her  before?" 

"Yes — -uh,  being  tossed  out  of  the  house  and  stuff  like 
that." 

In  response  to  Hicks 's  questions,  MiHroy  said  he  had 
wrapped  his  mother's  body  in  the  plastic  tarp,  dragged  it 
downstairs,  and  then  placed  it  on  the  plywood  sheet  in  the 
van.  "Then  I  drove  to  Cle  Elum,  but  I  changed  my  mind 
and  turned  around  with  her  body  still  in  the  van." 

Hicks  asked  Dusty  if  the  Puget  Power  crew  or  the  forest 
rangers  had  seen  her  body  when  they  were  digging  him 
out  of  the  snow. 

"I  already  got  rid  of  it  by  then." 

"You  positive  you  didn't  argue  with  your  mother  that 
morning?" 

Sighing,  Dusty  Millroy  admitted  that  there  had  been  a 
discussion  that  morning.  His  mother  told  him  that  he 
would  have  to  start  thinking  about  moving  out  of  the 
house,  but  she  hadn't  given  him  a  specific  time  when 
he  had  to  go. 

Even  so,  her  comments  had  angered  him,  and  he  had 
attacked  his  mother  so  unexpectedly  that  she  had  no  time 
to  resist  the  plunging  knife. 

"I  knew  I  was  in  trouble  then,"  he  said.  "That's  why  I 
had  to  hide  her  body.  I  tried  to  clean  up  the  house  and 
wash  the  clothes  I  wore." 

This  statement  indicated  that  Millroy  had  indeed  real- 
ized the  difference  between  right  and  wrong  at  the  time  he 
killed  his  mother. 


245 


ANN  RULE 


Despite  his  earlier  admissions,  when  Dusty  Millroy  went 
to  trial  in  early  May  1 979,  however,  it  was  a  different  man 
who  took  the  stand. 

Superior  Court  Judge  Warren  Chan  was  hearing  the 
case  without  a  jury.  He  entered  a  plea  of  innocence  by  rea- 
son of  insanity  for  the  defendant,  in  addition  to  the  defen- 
dant's own  plea  of  innocent. 

But  Dusty  Millroy  refused  to  entertain  any  arguments 
at  all  that  he  was  insane,  nor  would  he  admit  to  his  moth- 
er's murder — even  though  he'd  already  told  Yates  and 
Hicks  that  he  had  done  it. 

Two  psychiatrists  and  a  psychologist  testified  that 
Dusty  was  criminally  insane — testimony  that  enraged  the 
rail-thin  defendant,  who  had  insisted  on  making  his  own 
plea  of  innocent. 

The  defendant's  father,  referring  to  the  recent  mass  sui- 
cide (by  cyanide-laced  Kool-Aid)  of  the  Reverend  Jim 
Jones's  devout  followers,  described  his  son  as  a  "Jonestown 
type — the  sort  of  person  who  would  have  followed  the 
Reverend  Jim  Jones." 

"Jonestown  follower?"  Dusty  blurted  out,  his  eyes 
glinting  with  anger. 

"What  do  you  mean  by  that?"  defense  attorney  Rich 
Brothers  asked. 

"That  he  would  have  been  susceptible — " 

"That's  ridiculous!"  Dusty  exclaimed  loudly,  shaking 
his  head. 

When  he  took  the  stand— against  his  attorneys'  advice — 


246 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

Dusty  MiHroy  continued  to  disagree  with  any  testimony 
that  he  was  insane.  "I  never  wanted  the  insanity  plea  in  the 
first  place.  I  am  a  pacifist.  I  don't  believe  in  killing— even 
insects." 

"Did  you  kill  your  mother?"  defense  attorney  Brothers 
asked. 

"No.  I  did  not." 

Dusty's  mind  circled  once  more  around  his  main  delu- 
sion. He  testified  that  he  felt  the  CIA  was  possibly  respon- 
sible for  his  mother's  murder. 

"While  I  was  at  Evergreen  State  College,  it  became 
apparent  that  somebody  had  laced  the  well  that  supplied 
water  to  the  college  with  some  kind  of  chemical  or  drug," 
he  said  with  his  own  crazy  conviction.  "The  chemical 
caused  men  to  become  drowsy  and  women  to  become 
sexually  productive  [sic]'' 

The  defendant  explained  to  Judge  Chan  that  strange 
people  had  begun  showing  up  on  campus  and  that  he  felt 
they  were  sent  by  some  government  organization. 

"It  looked  like  we  were  under  observation  of  some 
kind.  The  government  was  using  the  students  as  guinea 
pigs,  and  about  seventy  percent  of  the  students  dropped 
out  without  finishing  the  year." 

Millroy  told  the  court  that  he  was  sure  the  CIA  was  to 
blame  and  that  spies  from  that  agency  had  followed  him  to 
California,  and  then  to  Turkey.  "They  tapped  my  phone," 
he  said,  "and  they  fired  a  shot  at  me." 

Asked  to  describe  his  recall  of  November  27,  he  said 
he'd  awakened,  walked  into  the  kitchen,  and  found  "a  mess 
on  the  floor.  I  thought  it  might  be  the  remains  of  a  chicken. 


247 


ANN  RULE 

I  tried  to  clean  it  up,  but  I  just  tried  that  briefly.  Then  I  sud- 
denly noticed  something  was  wrong.  There  was  too  much 
blood  for  any  chicken." 

He  testified  that  he  began  to  worry  that  his  mother  had 
been  hurt.  "I  felt  my  mother  had  been  injured  because  she 
was  nowhere  to  be  seen.  I  think  the  CIA  killed  her, 
because  they  were  the  only  ones  who  had  animosity  to  me. 
They  are,  of  course,  capable  of  such  activities." 

Dusty  Millroy's  mind  was  either  churning  with  delu- 
sions and  ugly  fantasies,  or  he  was  trying  very  hard  to  ap- 
pear insane. 

He  testified  that  he'd  driven  his  mother's  van  to  Cle 
Elum  to  look  for  her. 

"Why  did  you  do  that?"  his  attorney  asked. 

'T  did  that  because  I'd  heard  a  voice  during  the  night — 
when  I  was  half  asleep — and  it  mentioned  'the  highway 
east.' " 

Millroy's  courtroom  statements  certainly  smacked  of  a 
man  in  the  grip  of  psychosis.  But  prosecutor  Yates  had  in- 
troduced the  quite  rational  admission  to  his  mother's  mur- 
der that  Dusty  had  given  freely  in  February,  just  a  few 
months  earlier. 

Dusty  Millroy's  affect  was  flat  throughout  his  trial,  with 
the  worst  emotional  outbursts  evident  during  the  twelve 
minutes  when  Lee  Yates  cross-examined  him.  He  was 
extremely  annoyed  when  Yates  suggested  curtly  that  the 
defendant  was  playing  games  with  the  judge. 

Yates  wondered  why  the  defendant  had  driven  east  up 
the  mountain,  searching  for  his  mother. 

"You're  saying  you  thought  you  would  just  come  upon 
[your  mother]  in  the  wilderness?" 

248 


SHARPER  THAN  A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 

"I  thought  maybe  I  could  spot  blood  in  the  snow  .  .  ." 

"Oh,  come  on,"  Yates  said,  derision  in  his  voice.  "You 
don't  expect  us  to  believe  that!" 

"I  don't  care  whether  you  believe  it  or  not,"  Millroy 
spat  out.  "It's  the  truth." 

Dusty  quickly  recovered  the  stoic  attitude  he'd  exhib- 
ited through  most  of  his  trial. 

There  seemed  to  be  no  doubt  in  Judge  Chan's  mind 
that  Dusty  Millroy  had  been  the  immediate  instrument  of 
his  mother's  death.  No  one  else  had  a  motive  to  kill 
Lorraine  Millroy,  and  all  physical  and  circumstantial 
evidence  pointed  to  her  firstborn,  her  own  son.  She 
had  coddled  him,  spoiled  him,  and  forgiven  his  outra- 
geous and  bizarre  behavior  time  and  again.  And  she  had 
finally  had  all  she  could  bear  and  ordered  him  out  of  her 
home. 

Had  he  used  drugs  the  morning  she  was  killed? 
Probably — but  diminished  responsibility  brought  about 
through  the  use  of  mind-altering  substances  or  liquor  is 
not  a  defense.  Dusty  had  decided  of  his  own  free  will  to 
ingest  LSD,  and  perhaps  other  drugs. 

Judge  Chan  returned  a  verdict  of  guilty  of  first-degree 
murder,  which  carried  with  it  a  mandatory  life  sentence 
(which  meant,  actually,  thirteen  years  and  four  months), 
with  a  consecutive  five-year  sentence  for  the  use  of  a 
deadly  weapon — his  mother's  favorite  cooking  knife — 
while  committing  her  murder. 

Lorraine  Millroy  had  lived  on  the  edge  of  disaster.  The 
Washington  State  law — passed  to  protect  the  rights  of 
the  individual — that  forbade  committing  an  individual  to 
an  institution  unless  he  was  patently  and  demonstrably 

249 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

and  he  never  leaves  his  plane  at  the  airport  for  so  long." 

Jelberg  checked  traffic  tickets,  vehicle  registrations, 
hospitals  around  the  state,  and  found  nothing  indicating 
Monohan  had  been  in  an  accident.  There  had  been  no  ac- 
tivity in  his  personal  checking  account  since  the  first  of 
December.  The  last  activity  in  his  commercial  account 
was  on  December  12.  The  most  recent  hits  on  the  Standard 
Oil  computer  for  credit  card  use  were  also  noted  as  having 
been  on  December  12. 

Accompanied  by  the  missing  man's  estranged  wife, 
Detective  Jelberg  went  to  Monohan 's  office.  As  she  turned 
her  key,  they  saw  that  everything  was  covered  with  dust — 
motes  floating  eerily  in  the  air  where  light  beams  cut 
through  the  dimness.  Still,  there  was  no  indication  that  a 
struggle  had  taken  place  there.  Whatever  had  been  there 
before  seemed  to  remain,  all  neatly  in  place. 

In  the  loft  apartment,  the  pair  found  the  missing  man's 
clothes,  food-stocked  cupboards,  and  the  other  things  a 
newly  single  man  would  choose  to  ftirnish  a  temporary 
home. 

It  looked  as  if  Frank  Monohan  had  stepped  out  to  go  to 
lunch  and  never  returned.  His  wife  said  he'd  always  car- 
ried an  American  Express  card.  Reaching  into  the  incom- 
ing mail  drop  in  his  office,  Jelberg  pulled  out  a  number  of 
envelopes  that  had  been  delivered  since  December  1974. 
One  of  them  was  an  unopened  bill  from  American 
Express.  Finally,  he  had  found  evidence  that  someone  had 
made  purchases  on  Monohan 's  corporate  card.  There  were 
many  receipt  slips  for  charges  made  after  December  12. 

Jelberg  handed  them  to  Mrs.  Monohan,  and  she  studied 
the  signatures. 

265 


ANN  RULE 

"These  weren't  signed  by  Frank,"  she  gasped.  "These 
on  the  fourteenth  and  fifteenth  of  December.  His  normal 
signature  is  'F.  L.  Monohan,'  and  these  are  signed  'Frank' 
and  'Franklyn,'  and  they  definitely  aren't  in  his  handwrit- 
ing." 

They  found  more  charges  from  American  Express  for 
Monohan 's  card,  most  of  them  from  the  sprawling  South- 
center  Mall  where  Frank  had  his  office.  They  were  from 
toy  stores,  women's  intimate  apparel  stores,  a  men's  cloth- 
ing store,  and  several  others.  Someone  had  gone  on  a 
spending  spree  with  the  missing  man's  charge  card. 

After  they  locked  up,  Jelberg  and  Monohan 's  estranged 
wife  looked  for  his  pickup  with  its  canopy,  half  expecting 
to  find  it  parked  nearby.  But  it  wasn't.  If  Frank  Monohan 
had  become  one  of  the  army  of  souls  who  simply  decided 
to  "drop  out,"  he  apparently  had  done  so  with  only  the 
clothes  on  his  back.  He  could  have  lived  a  sumptuous  life 
for  a  long  time,  but  he  left  it  all  behind. 

Strange. 

Jelberg  went  to  the  stores  listed  on  the  American 
Express,  but  most  of  the  purchases  had  been  made  during 
the  Christmas  rush,  and  the  clerks  had  trouble  recalling  just 
who  had  made  these  charges.  Many  were  no  longer  em- 
ployed there,  as  they'd  been  temporary  holiday  salespeople. 
For  those  who  did  have  a  vague  recollection  of  the  sales, 
they  could  remember  only  that  there  were  "two  men." 

Next,  Standard  Oil  bills  began  to  trickle  in  to  Mono- 
han's  office  addiess.  All  the  receipts  showed  charges  made 
after  December  12.  Gas  and  other  items  had  been  pur- 
chased in  Lynnwood,  fifteen  miles  north  of  Seattle,  and 
south  a  thousand  miles  to  Los  Angeles,  and  back  again  to 

266 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

Sacramento.  The  license  number  listed  on  the  slips  was 
not  for  Monohan's  truck  but  rather  for  a  sedan  registered 
to  a  California  couple,  a  couple  whose  home  address  was 
listed  in  the  Seal  Beach  area — on  Long  Beach  Harbor. 

Jelberg  felt  he  was  getting  closer.  Maybe  his  missing 
man  was  having  a  midlife  crisis  and  had  taken  off  with  a 
younger  woman  who  had  a  child.  That  would  account  for 
the  toys  someone  had  bought.  Maybe  the  woman  had 
signed  Frank's  name  with  his  permission. 

Jelberg  called  Sergeant  Buzzard  of  the  Seal  Beach 
Police  Department  and  asked  that  the  couple  be  contacted. 
Buzzard  soon  reported  back  that  the  man  who  owned  the 
car  in  question — a  1968  Pontiac — was  the  owner  and 
manager  of  a  building  supply  firm  in  Seal  Beach. 

"This  guy  says  he  uses  only  Union  Oil  cards  to  buy 
gas,"  Buzzard  explained.  "But  he  has  several  truck  drivers 
who  work  for  him  and  they  often  have  access  to  his 
vehicle.  When  they  borrow  his  car,  they  put  gas  in  it." 

"You  have  their  names?"  Jelberg  asked. 

"Right.  There's  four  men  who  live  here  in  California. 
There  are  two  headquartered  in  Portland,  Oregon.  That's 
Al  Bryson*  and  Don  Majors." 

Buzzard  said  he  felt  the  owner  of  the  1 968  Pontiac  was 
telling  the  truth. 

"He  seems  totally  straight  and  cooperative  with  me.  I'll 
see  if  I  can  get  you  rap  sheets  on  the  California  employees 
who  had  access  to  the  Pontiac." 

Back  in  Washington,  Detective  Jelberg  checked  for  pos- 
sible criminal  records  on  either  Al  Bryson  or  Don  Majors. 
Bryson  was  clean,  but  Majors  had  a  current  warrant  out  for 
him  from  Grant  County,  Washington. 

267 


ANN  RULE 

The  missing  persons  investigator  had  pulled  the  loose 
end  of  a  string  that  would  keep  unraveling.  Grant  County 
authorities  confirmed  that  Don  Majors  also  had  an  out- 
standing warrant  in  Wyoming  for  grand  larceny  by  check. 
Since  Majors  often  lived  in  Grant  County,  the  Washington 
agency  was  looking  for  him  as  an  assist  to  Wyoming.  They 
promised  Jelberg  they  would  do  a  discreet  investigation 
into  Majors 's  background. 

In  the  meantime,  Jelberg  issued  a  request  to  all  agencies 
to  search  for  the  still  missing  canopied  pickup  belonging  to 
Frank  Monohan.  No  one  in  Seal  Beach  had  seen  it. 

The  first  information  on  Don  Majors  came  in:  Majors 
had  two  birthdates  of  record.  Grant  County  detectives 
believed  that  the  documents  that  listed  his  birthday  as 
September  13,  1922,  were  probably  accurate.  "He's  very 
tall — somewhere  between  six  foot  three  to  six  foot  five," 
the  Grant  County  investigator  said.  "And  skinny.  But  his 
description  tends  to  vary  like  his  birthdays." 

"Where's  he  live?"  Jelberg  asked. 

"Not  sure.  His  ex-wife  and  twenty-year-old  daughter 
still  live  in  Quincy,  Washington,  but  Majors  himself  is  in 
and  out  of  town,  and  usually  on  the  road. 

"We're  sending  you  his  rap  sheet,"  the  Grant  County 
contact  said. 

How  Don  Majors  might  have  come  to  know  the  miss- 
ing Frank  Monohan  was  a  puzzle  to  Jelberg.  Quincy  was 
thirty-five  miles  east  of  Wenatchee.  The  men  lived  across 
the  state  from  each  other — separated  by  a  towering  moun- 
tain range — and  Monohan  was  a  respected  and  wealthy 
businessman,  while  Majors 's  activities  seemed  to  be  ques- 
tionable at  the  very  least. 

268 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

When  Majors 's  rap  sheet  arrived,  Jelberg  was  even 
more  surprised.  It  was  thick  enough  to  indicate  decades  of 
criminal  activity.  Majors  was  presently  a  fugitive  from  not 
only  the  Wyoming  warrant  but  from  a  bench  warrant  in 
Grant  County  for  not  complying  with  the  conditions  of  his 
parole  release  from  prison. 

"His  last  known  address  is  in  George,  Washington," 

Grant  County  detectives  said  in  a  follow-up  phone  call. 

"But  the  most  recent  place  we  have  reports  about  him  was 

j  in  Portland,  Oregon,  where  he  goes  under  the  name  of 

^  Donald  Thompson." 

Jelberg  studied  the  mug  shot  of  Donald  Majors  aka 
Donald  Thompson  aka  who  else?  He  was  thin  to  the  point 
of  gauntness,  and  high  cheekbones  and  sunken  cheeks 
made  his  face  almost  cadaverous.  He  resembled  more 
than  anything  an  old-time  western  villain  who  smoked  too 
much,  drank  too  much  rotgut  whiskey,  and  probably  had 
tuberculosis.  His  eyes  were  like  a  fox's,  piercing  and 
light-colored.  He  wore  metal-framed  glasses  and  an  old- 
fashioned  handlebar  mustache. 

With  twenty-five  more  pounds  on  him,  he  could  be 
handsome.  In  this  mug  shot,  Don  Majors  looked  as  though 
he  had  lived  his  entire  life  dissolutely. 

Bud  Jelberg  still  couldn't  figure  out  the  connection 
between  Don  Majors/Thompson  and  Frank  Monahan,  but 
they  were  both  missing,  and  Jelberg  asked  permission  to 
open  the  safe  in  Monohan's  office. 

In  spite  of  his  years  of  experience  in  the  Seattle  Police 
Department,  Jelberg  was  startled  by  what  he  discovered  in 
that  safe.  As  he  looked  through  letters,  pictures,  and 
printed  material,  he  found  that  the  highly  successfiil  and 

269 


ANN  RULE 

respected  businessman  had  been  leading  a  double  life,  a 
life  unknown  to  his  closest  friends  or  his  family.  Frank 
Monohan  had  apparently  been  deeply  involved  in  "swing- 
ing," exchanging  sexual  intimacies  with  perfect  strangers, 
the  singles  and  couples  who  advertised  in  his  collection  of 
erotic  publications:  Swingers'  Magazine,  Sandra's  Erotic 
Journal,  and  others  of  that  ilk. 

Jelberg  sat  back  on  his  heels  as  he  thumbed  through  the 
safe's  contents.  He  wasn't  expecting  to  find  this.  He'd 
thought  Monohan  might  have  had  tax  problems,  or  been 
afraid  that  he'd  be  caught  embezzling,  or,  most  likely,  that 
he  had  left  with  a  woman  much  different  from  his  wife. 

The  magazines  and  mail  in  the  safe  didn't  fit  with  any  of 
that.  Would-be  sexual  contacts  had  sent  their  pictures  in 
various  stages  of  undress,  including  completely  naked 
poses.  They  were  holding  whips,  handcuffs,  black  leather 
masks,  and  phallic-shaped  vibrators,  along  with  all  manner 
of  kinky  sexual  toys.  The  advertisers'  sexual  preferences 
were  printed  in  black  and  white,  although  you  had  to  speak 
another  language  to  understand  them.  "French,  Greek, 
B.  and  D.  [bondage  and  discipline.]"  The  far-out  fantasies 
listed  in  the  magazines  required  very  creative  minds  to 
imagine  them. 

Jelberg  lifted  out  a  photo  album  with  dozens  of  obvi- 
ously private  snapshots  that  many  women  had  mailed  to 
Frank  Monohan.  Some  of  the  women  who  posed  naked  for 
an  unknown  person's  Polaroid  camera  were  beautiful;  oth- 
ers would  have  had  trouble  being  picked  up  in  a  dark  bar 
at  "last  call"  by  a  man  who'd  had  five  martinis. 

The  poses  were  obscene,  and  there  was  no  question 
about  the  kind  of  appetites  they  were  trying  to  whet.  There 

270 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

were  photographs  of  men,  too:  a  handsome,  powerful- 
looking  man  sitting  naked  on  a  bar  stool  in  his  recreation 
room,  holding  a  torture  device,  a  cruel  smile  on  his  lips. 
His  pretty  wife,  with  a  whip  in  her  hands,  sat  nude  beside 
him. 

Don  Majors 's  picture  was  in  the  album,  too.  And  as  Jel- 
berg  studied  his  photo,  he  knew  he  had  found  the  connec- 
tion to  Frank  Monohan.  Majors  was  engaged  in  a  perverted 
sexual  act  with  a  female  whose  face  was  obscured. 

Jelberg  would  try  to  identify  the  other  women  posing 
with  Majors.  Maybe  he  could  build  stronger  links  between 
the  dead  man  and  the  missing  man. 

Frank  Monohan  had  kept  not  only  the  correspondence 
from  other  swingers  but  also  carbons  of  his  own  responses. 
He  had  always  been  an  efficient  businessman. 

Sometime  in  the  past  few  years,  Monohan 's  life  had 
changed  radically:  he'd  become  obsessed  with  the  pursuit 
of  kinky  sex.  And  yet  he  had  apparently  managed  to  carry 
on  his  business,  too,  and  to  keep  his  sex-driven  world  a 
secret  from  those  who  knew  him  as  he  once  had  been. 
Maybe  he'd  always  been  drawn  to  the  forbidden  and 
erotic,  and,  at  forty-eight,  had  simply  decided  to  leave  his 
marriage  and  give  in  to  his  heretofore  hidden  impulses. 

Jelberg  had  little  doubt  now  that  Frank  Monohan  was 
probably  dead.  He'd  been  walking  on  the  wild  side,  a 
tempting  target  for  people  who  used  the  sex  trade  for 
profit.  But  his  body  had  never  been  found.  Legally,  it 
would  take  seven  years  for  Monohan  to  be  officially  de- 
clared deceased  if  his  remains  were  never  found  or  proof 
of  his  death  wasn't  firmly  established. 

Jelberg  believed  in  his  bones  that  the  mysterious  Don 

271 


ANN  RULE 

Majors  was  involved  in  whatever  had  happened  to  Frank 
Monohan.  But  how  could  he  prove  it?  In  those  early 
months  of  1975,  Monohan 's  body  had  not  been  found. 
Sometimes,  Bud  Jelberg  doubted  his  own  intuition,  and  he 
could  almost  picture  Monohan  drinking  a  piiia  colada  on  a 
balmy  beach  far  away,  laughing  because  he'd  pulled  of  the 
perfect  escape  from  a  boring  life  in  the  clammy,  rainy 
atmosphere  of  the  Northwest. 

Not  likely. 

The  missing  persons  detective  knew  less  about  Don 
Majors;  he  was  gone,  too. 

"Maybe  Majors  is  the  dead  one,"  Jelberg  commented  to 
Detective  Joyce  Johnson,  who  had  the  desk  next  to  his. 
"Maybe  I've  figured  it  out  all  wrong." 

More  credit-card  slips  came  in,  and  Jelberg  added  them 
to  Frank  Monohan 's  file.  His  American  Express  card  had 
been  used  at  the  Holiday  Inn  in  the  Duwamish  Slough 
area,  just  south  of  the  Seattle  city  limits,  on  December  13, 
1974.  Monohan 's  true  signature  had  been  used  to  sign  for 
a  steak  dinner  for  three,  and  then  to  pay  for  two  deluxe 
rooms. 

But  that  was  the  last  time  Frank  Monohan  himself  used 
the  card.  A  day  later,  a  new  signature  had  signed  for  pur- 
chases at  a  boutique  in  Southcenter  Mall  (for  black  mesh 
stockings  and  a  black  satin  waist  cincher),  at  Toys  Galore 
(for  electric  train  equipment  and  tracks),  and  for  expensive 
men's  clothing  at  an  exclusive  men's  store.  Armed  with 
Majors 's  mug  shot,  Jelberg  showed  his  picture  and  other 
mug  shots  to  a  new  group  of  clerks.  This  time  he  hit  at 
least  a  spoonful  of  pay  dirt.  They  looked  at  a  "laydown,"  a 


272 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

collection  of  photographs  including  both  Monohan  and 
Majors,  and  they  all  chose  the  missing  trucker  as  the  man 
who'd  used  Frank  Monohan 's  credit  card. 

Monohan 's  truck,  an  orange  1969  Ford  pickup,  was 
located  in  a  towing  yard.  A  man  who  wanted  to  buy  such  a 
vehicle  had  spotted  it  there  and  called  one  of  Monohan 's 
relatives  asking  about  the  price.  The  truck  had  been 
dumped  surreptitiously  on  the  huge  towing  yard  lot,  and 
because  they  took  only  sporadic  inventory,  the  owners 
were  completely  unaware  it  was  there. 

Detective  Joyce  Johnson  had  the  truck  impounded  and 
towed  to  headquarters,  where  it  was  processed.  Nothing  of 
evidentiary  value  was  found  in  the  truck. 

This  was  the  status  of  the  search  for  Frank  Monohan  in 
early  June  1975  when  Deputy  Bill  Patterson  of  Chelan 
County  sent  out  his  request  for  help  in  identifying  the 
body  found  on  Blewett  Pass. 

Bud  Jelberg  immediately  forwarded  dental  X-rays  of 
the  missing  Monohan  for  comparison  with  those  of  the 
corpse.  If  the  body  was  Monohan 's,  at  least  they  would 
solve  the  first  part  of  the  mystery  of  what  had  become  of 
him.  Jelberg  even  had  a  prime  suspect — Donald  Kennedy 
Majors — who  was  still  at  large. 

Moreover,  the  Seattle  detectives  already  had  a  handle 
on  the  motive  for  murder.  Monohan  had  been  fair  game 
for  the  swingers  he'd  been  in  touch  with,  and  Majors 
swung  with  the  best  of  them. 

Dr.  Bonafaci  and  Bill  Patterson  took  Monohan 's  dental 
chart  to  Dr.  M.  L.  Westerberg's  dental  office.  Westerberg 
studied  the  two  charts  intently.  Finally,  he  looked  up. 


273 


ANN  RULE 

"I'm  positive  it's  the  same  man.  There's  one  chance  in  a 
half  million  that  this  chart  could  belong  to  anyone  other 
than  Frank  Monohan." 


Since  the  victim's  body  had  been  found  in  Chelan  County, 
Patterson  would  be  the  principal  investigator  in  the 
murder  case.  He  knew  who  his  victim  was  now,  and  he 
knew  who  the  main  suspect  was,  but  he  still  had  to  find 
Don  Majors.  And  he  had  to  find  some  testimony  or 
physical  evidence  that  would  bind  Majors  inextricably  to 
the  killing. 

Despite  Majors 's  identification  as  someone  who  proba- 
bly used  Monohan 's  credit  cards,  it  wasn't  an  absolute 
fact.  And  that  was  what  Bill  Patterson  needed  to  take  his 
case  to  the  Chelan  County  prosecuting  attorney. 

That  would  not  be  easy. 

By  the  time  Bill  Patterson  finished  with  Don  Majors,  he 
would  know  more  about  the  wily  trucker  than  Majors 's 
own  mother.  Some  of  the  people  the  chief  deputy  con- 
tacted were  horrified  to  find  themselves  linked  to  Don 
Majors.  The  thought  that  their  hidden  sex  lives  might  be 
revealed  left  them  pale  and  shaken,  and  their  words  tum- 
bled over  each  other  as  they  hastened  to  make  up  excuses. 
In  truth,  they  were  aghast  to  learn  that  their  "advertise- 
ments" in  swingers'  magazines  had  now  come  to  the  atten- 
tion of  a  sheriff's  detective.  A  few  admitted  knowing  Don 
Majors,  while  others  stoutly  insisted  the  whole  thing  was  a 
mistake,  and  they  had  never  willingly  participated  in  such 
advertisements. 

Many  were  professional  people  who  were  "pillars  of 

274 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

their  communities."  One  man  finally  admitted  that  he'd 
met  Majors  through  an  ad  in  The  Seekers,  a  swingers' 
magazine.  "I  met  him  and  his  ex-wife  in  '68,"  the  man 
recalled.  "Majors  called  me  after  I  answered  his  ad.  I  met 
him  at  his  place  in  Quincy  and  he  introduced  me  to  a  gal. 
Later  on,  I  worked  on  the  trucks  with  him." 

The  embarrassed  man  said  that  Majors  liked  to  brag, 
and  claimed  to  have  been  a  "hit  man"  in  Chicago.  "He  said 
he  kept  a  twelve-gauge  sawed-off  shotgun  down  his  pants 
leg,  but  I  think  he  made  it  all  up." 

Most  people  Patterson  interviewed  still  believed  that 
Don  Majors  was  primarily  a  truck  driver.  His  CB  handle 
was,  ironically,  "Dudley  Do-Right." 

"There  was  one  place  he  always  used  to  show  up,"  the 
informant  said.  "Even  though  I  heard  he  was  driving  for 
that  outfit  in  Seal  Beach,  he  never  used  to  miss  the  fourth 
Saturday  of  every  month  at  the  Scarlet  Circle  Dance  Club 
in  Portland.  That's  when  the  interested  swingers  get 
together." 

"When  was  the  last  time  you  saw  him?"  Patterson 
asked. 

"Sometime  after  the  first  of  the  year." 

"What  was  he  driving?" 

"As  I  recall,  it  was  a  bronze  1966  Chevy  Impala  with 
Nebraska  plates.  I  didn't  look  at  the  plate  numbers." 

"Was  he  alone?" 

The  informant  shook  his  head.  "He  had  a  woman  with 
him — he  told  me  he'd  met  her  sometime  in  January  1975 
in  a  motel  in  Nebraska." 

Even  for  a  cross-country  trucker,  Don  Majors  was  peri- 
patetic. He  was  reported  here,  there,  and  everywhere — 

275 


ANN  RULE 

and  always  as  a  faithful  fourth-Saturday  attendee  at  the 
Scarlet  Circle  Dance  Club  in  Portland,  Oregon. 

Despite  his  degenerate  appearance  and  skinny  frame, 
Don  Majors  seemed  to  affect  women  the  way  catnip  did 
cats.  He'd  been  living  with  a  divorcee,  Gerda  Goss,*  in 
Quincy,  sharing  her  home  with  her  and  her  teenage  son. 
Curt,*  until  sometime  in  December.  Majors  also  kept  up 
cordial  relations  with  his  ex-wife,  and  had,  indeed,  used 
her  picture  when  he  advertised  in  the  swingers'  magazines 
(albeit  without  her  knowledge). 

He  had  brought  his  newest  girlfriend,  Shireen  Gillespie,* 
to  visit  his  ex-loves  in  Washington  sometime  in  January, 
and  they  had  apparently  spent  their  nights  in  several  homes 
where  he'd  once  been  welcomed  as  a  lover. 

If  any  of  the  former  women  in  his  life  knew  where  Ma- 
jors was,  they  weren't  telling  Bill  Patterson.  Neither  his 
wife  nor  his  former  girlfriends  professed  to  know  anything 
about  Frank  Monohan.  They  shook  their  heads  and  said 
they  had  never  heard  his  name.  All  they  knew  was  that 
Majors  and  Shireen  had  left  Quincy  in  her  bronze  Impala 
sometime  during  the  late  winter  months. 

With  cooperation  from  other  law  enforcement  agen- 
cies, Patterson  arranged  for  stakeouts  to  be  placed  in  the 
locations  where  Majors  was  known  to  visit. 

But  the  Chevy  Impala  didn't  surface. 

Patterson  tried  another  tactic.  He  checked  out  phone 
calls  that  were  charged  to  Monohan 's  credit  card  long  after 
he  vanished.  Many  of  the  people  the  Chelan  County  detec- 
tive called  denied  that  they  even  knew  Don  Majors.  And 
nobody  admitted  being  acquainted  with  Frank  Monohan. 

Patterson  suspected  that  he  wasn't  always  hearing  the 

276 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

truth,  but  he  understood  the  swingers'  fear  of  discovery. 
Finding  witnesses  was  next  to  impossible. 

Patterson  began  to  backtrack  on  Don  Majors 's  behavior 
in  mid-December  1974.  That  was  shortly  after  Monohan 
disappeared.  He  spoke  again  with  store  personnel  where 
Monohan 's  credit  card  had  been  used,  and  learned  that 
Majors  had  been  accompanied  by  a  younger  man. 

"I  would  judge  him  to  be  possibly  in  his  thirties,"  one 
store  owner  said.  "He  didn't  say  much." 

The  witness  tapped  a  mug  shot  photo  Patterson  held. 
"This  guy — you  say  his  name  is  Majors — he  did  all  the 
talking.  We  thought  the  young  guy  might  have  been  his 
son." 

All  of  the  clerks  picked  Don  Majors 's  picture  from  a 
ten- subject  laydown  as  the  middle-aged  man  who  had 
made  purchases  in  their  stores. 

Don  Majors  had  spent  thousands  of  dollars  on  Decem- 
ber 14 — purchasing  everything  from  sexy  underwear  to 
cameras  worth  three  or  four  hundred  dollars.  Monohan 's 
American  Express  card  had  also  been  used  at  a  jewelry 
store  in  Yakima,  Washington,  a  day  or  so  later.  For  some 
reason,  Majors  was  hopping  all  over  the  state. 

"Maybe  he  just  had  the  Christmas  spirit,"  Patterson  said 
sardonically.  "He  seems  to  have  been  buying  presents  for 
a  lot  of  people." 


While  he  was  finding  out  more  about  "Dudley  Do-Right" 
Majors,  Bill  Patterson  was  also  interviewing  Frank  Mono- 
han's  family  and  friends  in  depth.  They  all  knew  him  as  a 
solid  businessman,  not  given  to  extravagance.  When  he 

277 


ANN  RULE 

moved  away  from  his  family  home,  he  could  well  have  af- 
forded an  expensive  apartment.  Instead,  he  had  simply  put 
a  bed,  refrigerator,  and  a  phone  into  the  storeroom  off  his 
office.  There  were  no  windows  there,  and  it  was  stuffy  and 
drab. 

"Frank  always  carried  his  Standard  Oil  card,  the  Ameri- 
can Express  card,  and  a  phone  credit  card,"  one  close 
friend  said.  "He  usually  carried  only  seven  or  eight  dollars 
in  cash,"  another  friend  added.  "But  he  kept  a  hundred- 
dollar  bill  hidden  in  his  wallet  all  the  time — for  emergen- 
cies. I  don't  recall  that  he  ever  had  to  use  it." 

Monohan's  two  best  friends  said  they'd  had  dinner  with 
him  at  the  Duwamish  Holiday  Inn  on  December  1 2  and  he 
had  paid  for  the  meal  with  his  American  Express  card. 

"I  know  he  was  alive  during  the  day  of  the  thirteenth," 
one  former  business  associate  said,  "because  I  got  a  ques- 
tion from  a  ferry  company  about  some  work  Frank  did  for 
them  that  day." 

Frank  Monohan's  relatives  told  Patterson  that  his  $300 
watch  was  missing,  along  with  a  cowhide  attache  case.  His 
wallet — made  out  of  alligator — was  gone,  too.  And  his 
electric  shaver. 

When  Monohan's  pickup  was  recovered,  there  were 
only  289.4  miles  on  the  odometer  since  the  last  time  it  had 
been  serviced. 

"We  know  he  put  about  two  hundred  of  those  miles  on 
in  short  trips  we  were  aware  of,"  a  young  male  relative 
said,  "but  somebody  put  ninety  miles  more  on  the  odome- 
ter. That  wasn't  enough  to  get  up  to  Blewett  Pass  and  back. 
So  someone  must  have  driven  him  up  to  the  summit  in 
their  car." 

278 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

The  letters  from  potential  sexual  partners  had  contin- 
ued to  pour  into  Monohan's  letter  drop  long  after  he  was 
dead.  They  were  shocking  and  disturbing  to  his  family, 
none  of  whom  had  any  idea  about  his  involvement  with 
that  element  of  society. 

These  swingers'  letters  were  turned  over  to  Bill  Patter- 
son. Some  were  from  way  across  America,  but  several 
were  in  the  Seattle  or  Wenatchee  area.  Detective  Jelberg 
also  had  a  packet  of  red-hot  correspondence  sent  to  Mono- 
han  from  people  he'd  already  met,  and  these  too  were 
turned  over  to  Patterson. 

Was  the  answer  to  what  had  really  motivated  Frank 
Monohan's  murder  buried  somewhere  in  the  torrid  scrawls 
on  perfume-scented  stationery  or  in  the  flat-out  pornogra- 
phy typed  on  plain  white  sheets? 

Possibly.  There  were  several  letters  either  to  or  from 
Don  Majors.  Majors  mostly  wrote  about  how  he  was  going 
to  set  Frank  up  with  his  ex-wife.  Majors 's  tactical  approach 
seemed  to  be  a  refinement  of  the  old  "badger  game":  he 
promised  much  but  delivered  little.  He  had  kept  Frank 
Monohan  dangling,  with  explicit  details  of  his  ex-wife's 
charms  and  descriptions  of  her  body.  He  kept  assuring 
Monohan  that  their  meeting  was  imminent. 

And  all  the  while,  the  poor  woman  had  had  no  idea  of 
what  her  ex-husband  was  doing. 

Patterson  felt  sure  he  had  found  Frank  Monohan's 
killer.  All  he  had  to  do  was  find  Don  Majors. 

Word  came  from  a  California  detective,  Wayne  Hunter, 
in  Sacramento.  A  stolen  credit  card  owned  by  an  Elroy 
Smollett*  was  being  used  to  buy  gas  for  a  car  registered  to 
the  woman  Majors  was  traveling  with — Shireen  Gillespie. 

279 


ANN  RULE 

The  bronze  Impala  was  gone,  and  they  were  now  driv- 
ing a  maroon  1966  Chevrolet. 

"We  have  copies  of  gas-charge  receipts  made  from 
Idaho,  south  through  northern  California,"  Hunter  said. 
"The  last  address  we  have  for  Elroy  Smollett  was  in  Sacra- 
mento." 

"Could  you  contact  him?"  Patterson  asked.  "And  ask 
him  what  the  circumstances  were  when  he  lost  his  gas 
card?" 

Detective  Wayne  Hunter  called  back  later  the  same  day. 
"Smollett  says  he  was  visiting  a  man  named  Ted  Aust*  in 
May  and  that  there  was  a  man  there  named  'Don.'  Smollett 
says  he'd  left  his  wallet  out  in  his  car  while  they  were 
doing  some  remodeling.  He  didn't  notice  the  card  was 
gone  until  sometime  in  June  and  reported  it  stolen  then." 

"Did  he  describe  this  'Don'?"  Patterson  asked. 

"Yeah.  The  guy  is  way  over  six  feet  tall,  skinny,  and  he 
has  a  handlebar  mustache.  Smollett  thinks  he's  in  his  late 
forties  or  early  fifties." 

It  was  Majors.  It  had  to  be.  Patterson  winced  as  he  real- 
ized that  his  quarry  now  had  himself  a  different  car  and 
credit  card.  At  least  the  investigators  looking  for  him  were 
able  to  trace  him,  and  Patterson  hoped  that  Don  Majors 
didn't  know  that. 

The  hits  on  Elroy  Smollett's  gas  card  came  in  with 
steady  regularity.  Majors  was  buying  gas  so  often  that  he 
seemed  to  be  driving  twenty-four  hours  a  day.  He  was  in 
one  town,  then  another,  and  soon  a  thousand  miles  away. 

On  June  27,  1975,  Majors  and  his  latest  woman  were 
still  on  the  run,  but  Patterson  got  some  startling  new  infor- 
mation. 

280 


'  MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

The  Seattle  man  claimed  to  be  Don  Majors 's  nephew, 
and  he  said  he'd  had  a  visit  from  his  Uncle  Don  on  the 
second  of  June. 

"My  uncle  said  he  had  a  .22  that  was  misfiring.  He 
brought  it  in  and  we  looked  at  it — it  was  a  rifle  with  a  ten- 
inch  silencer.  We  shot  it  into  a  block  of  wood  and  it 
worked  all  right.  He  also  had  a  derringer." 

The  witness  said  Majors  had  told  him  that  he'd  killed  a 
man,  but  he  hadn't  really  believed  Majors  at  the  time. 

"He  sometimes  tells  big  stories,"  the  man  said. 

"Was  anyone  with  him  when  he  dropped  by?"  Patterson 
asked. 

"Yeah — a  woman  named  Shireen.  He  said  she  was  his 
girlfriend.  And  they  had  another  girl  with  them,  too." 

Patterson  returned  to  Quincy,  Washington,  to  interview 
Don  Majors 's  ex-wife  in  her  home.  She  denied  writing  any 
of  the  letters  to  Monohan,  or  that  she'd  ever  heard  of  him. 

"That's  Don's  handwriting,"  she  said.  "He  has  a  type- 
writer that  he  sometimes  uses  to  write  this  kind  of  letter, 
too.  Or  he'll  get  his  girlfiiends  to  write  them.  I  never  wanted 
anything  to  do  with  this  smut." 

"When  did  you  two  divorce?"  Bill  Patterson  asked. 

"He  left  home  seven  years  ago,  but  he  still  stops  by  to 
visit.  He  was  here  on  June  second  with  a  woman  named 
Shireen.  I  don't  know  where  he  is  now.  His  mother  lives  in 
Oregon,  and  he  has  a  brother  in  Los  Angeles." 

She  promised  to  call  Patterson  if  she  heard  from  her  ex- 
husband. 

Patterson  talked  again  with  Gerda  Goss,  who  also  re- 
sided in  Quincy.  She  and  Don  Majors  had  lived  together 
until  late  December  1974. 

281 


ANN  RULE 

"When  was  the  last  time  you  heard  from  Don?"  Patter- 
son asked. 

"He  called  on  the  phone  and  we  talked  on  June  second," 
she  said.  "He  said  he  was  in  Idaho — but  I  thought  he  was 
right  here  in  Quincy.  He  lies  so  much  that  you  can't  be- 
lieve him.  He  wanted  me  to  call  an  attorney  in  Sacramento 
about  getting  one  of  the  Aust  brothers  out  of  jail.  Aust  was 
supposed  to  be  a  Hell's  Angel,  and  I  was  to  tell  the  lawyer 
that  Don  would  be  down  to  get  him  out  in  a  couple  of 
days.  I  know  Ted  Aust,  too.  He  used  to  be  Don's  cellmate 
in  prison." 

The  Chelan  County  chief  deputy  sensed  that  Gerda 
Goss  was  clearly  afraid  of  Don  Majors. 

She  admitted  that  that  was  true.  "Don  has  a  key  to  my 
house  still,"  she  said  fearfully. 

Patterson  handed  her  his  business  card,  and  she  prom- 
ised to  call  him  if  she  heard  from  Majors. 


The  women  in  Quincy  had  no  reason  to  worry:  Donald 
Kennedy  Majors  was  far  away  from  them  on  still  another 
sadistic  pursuit.  The  hits  on  the  Smollett  gas  credit  card 
were  popping  up  like  toadstools  as  the  maroon  Chevy 
headed  east.  Majors  was  buying  gas,  tires,  batteries,  car 
parts — anything  he  could  sell.  And  he  was  managing  to 
keep  one  jump  ahead  of  his  pursuers. 

Majors  had  another  ripe  turkey  to  pluck.  He  had  a  volu- 
minous file  of  letters  and  notes  listing  names  and  phone 
numbers.  He  had  met  them  all  through  ads  in  swingers' 
magazines.  One  man,  in  Solon  Springs,  Wisconsin,  sounded 
like  a  vulnerable  target. 

282 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

Don  Majors  now  had  two  women  with  him — Shireen 
Gillespie,  his  latest  girlfriend,  and  a  pretty  young  Indian 
girl  he'd  picked  up  in  his  last  swing  through  Sacramento. 
Her  name  was  Tana  Chippewa.* 

Using  the  women  as  bait,  Majors  set  out  to  make  money. 
He  would  use  his  most  successful  MO:  entrap  the  sex- 
hungry  suckers  and  then  rip  them  off. 

Bill  Patterson  looked  at  the  map  on  his  desk,  marking  it 
in  red  wherever  Elroy  Smollett's  gas  card  had  been  used. 
Majors  was  heading  southeast  and  then  angling  off  toward 
the  Midwest.  From  late  May  through  all  of  June  and  into 
July,  the  stolen  credit  card  had  been  used  in  California, 
Nevada,  Arizona,  Wyoming,  South  Dakota,  Minnesota, 
Iowa,  Wisconsin,  and  finally,  Illinois.  Smollett  had  been 
issued  a  new  card,  but  his  first  card  was  kept  in  force.  It 
was  a  relatively  cheap  way  to  track  the  man  detectives  be- 
lieved to  be  a  killer. 


Don  Majors  and  his  female  traveling  companions  made  a 
five-day  stopover  in  Solon  Springs,  Wisconsin.  They  vis- 
ited with  a  well-to-do  man  who  had  written  an  ad  looking 
for  some  "action." 

The  man  got  more  action  than  he  bargained  for. 

While  Majors  and  the  two  woman  enjoyed  his  hospital- 
ity, they  never  agreed  to  any  sexual  activity,  finding  one 
excuse  after  another.  Their  host  became  suspicious  of  his 
guests,  who  were  eating  and  drinking  him  out  of  house 
and  home,  and  he  confronted  them. 

That  was  a  mistake.  Don  Majors  forced  him  into  a 
root  cellar  beneath  his  home  and  bound  his  wrists  and 

283 


ANN  RULE 

ankles  tightly.  Then  Majors  threaded  a  cord  with  a  lighted 
lightbulb  on  one  end,  trailing  it  from  the  root  cellar  and 
over  the  top  of  the  basement  door.  He  left  the  lightbulb 
suspended  inches  above  an  open  container  of  gasoline. 
He  placed  another  full  container  of  gas  next  to  the  home- 
made bomb.  Majors  then  nailed  plywood  over  the  root- 
cellar  door. 

"Now,"  he'd  shouted  to  the  man  trapped  inside.  "If  you 
manage  to  get  free,  and  try  to  push  this  door  open,  the  hot 
bulb  goes  into  the  gas — and  that's  all  she  wrote.  They 
won't  find  you,  your  house,  or  most  of  your  block." 

With  the  helpless  homeowner  tied  up.  Majors  had  taken 
his  time  clearing  the  man's  home  of  valuables,  including 
his  practically  new  car. 

He'd  been  right  about  the  gasoline  "bomb."  Experts 
said  that  if  the  gas  and  the  hot  bulb  met,  the  explosion  re- 
sulting would  have  leveled  the  house  and  the  adjoining 
homes  as  efficiently  as  TNT. 

However,  the  man  trapped  in  the  root  cellar  managed  to 
wriggle  free  of  his  bonds.  He  located  a  saw  and  tediously 
cut  his  way  through  the  ceiling,  allowing  him  to  escape 
without  disturbing  the  booby  trap.  Local  investigators 
later  disengaged  the  lightbulb  very,  very  carefully. 

Then  they  sent  out  teletypes  asking  for  information  on 
Don  Majors  and  the  two  women  traveling  with  him. 

At  9:15  in  the  evening  of  July  8,  1975,  the  Sacramento 
office  of  the  FBI  received  a  phone  call  from  Tana  Chippe- 
wa's mother. 

"My  daughter  just  called  me  from  Illinois,"  she  said 
nervously.  "A  man  named  Don  Majors  has  Tana  captive  in 
a  motel  in  Matteson,  Illinois.  They're  in  room  number 

284 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

eight  and  he's  registered  under  the  name  of  Wendell  Lee. 
It's  the  Matteson  Motel." 

Asked  for  a  few  more  details,  the  worried  woman  re- 
peated what  her  daughter  Tana  had  told  her. 

"She  said  that  Majors  is  planning  to  kill  a  man  at  9:00 
a.m.,  a  man  at  the  motel.  All  I  know  about  him  is  that  his 
name  is  Al  and  he  lives  in  Crete,  Illinois.  My  daughter 
says  this  man  she's  afraid  of — Don  Majors — met  Al 
through  a  swingers'  magazine." 

The  special  agent  in  Sacramento  immediately  sent  a 
teletype  to  the  FBI  office  in  Chicago:  "The  informant  says 
Majors  has  a  .22  derringer  and  a  sawed-off  shotgun.  Use 
caution." 

Next,  Tana  Chippewa  called  the  Chicago  FBI  office  and 
said  that  she  had  managed  to  sneak  out  of  the  room  where 
Majors  and  Shireen  Gillespie  were  asleep  and  was  calling 
from  the  motel  office.  "Please  hurry,"  she  begged.  "I  don't 
want  to  help  kill  a  man." 

A  squad  of  FBI  agents  gathered  quietly  outside  the 
Matteson  Motel  at  1 : 30  a.m.  Tana  Chippewa  tiptoed  out  to 
meet  them,  whispering. 

"They're  asleep,"  she  told  the  agents.  "But  Don's  got 
guns  in  bed  with  him." 

The  agents  decided  not  to  wait  for  backup  and  entered 
the  room  through  the  door  that  Tana  had  left  unlocked. 
Majors  wakened  from  a  sound  sleep  to  find  his  bed  sur- 
rounded by  FBI  agents  aiming  guns  at  him. 

When  they  asked  where  his  weapons  were,  he  gave  in 
and  pointed  to  a  spot  at  the  end  of  the  bed  where  he'd  hid- 
den them. 

It  was  a  lucky  thing  that  the  special  agents  had  been 

285 


ANN  RULE 

able  to  sneak  up  on  Don  Majors.  Had  he  spotted  them, 
there  would  almost  certainly  have  been  bloodshed.  They 
found  a  sawed-off  .22  rifle  loaded,  and  an  operative  hand 
grenade  under  the  covers.  The  .22  derringer  was  in  Shireen 
Gillespie's  purse. 

Shireen  was  actually  Majors 's  captive,  too.  She  had 
been  more  afraid  to  leave  the  sadistic  con  man  than  Tana 
Chippewa  was.  Now,  seeing  Majors  in  handcuffs,  she  gave 
the  FBI  agents  permission  to  search  the  Chevrolet,  which 
was  registered  in  her  name.  The  car  was  full  of  more  inter- 
esting items:  a  sawed-off  bolt-action  rifle,  the  silencer  for 
the  rifle,  ammunition,  rubber  gloves,  black  leather  straps 
used  in  bondage  sex,  an  empty  billfold,  blank  checks,  and 
stacks  of  sex  magazines,  including  The  Players,  Sandra  s 
Erotic  Journal,  and  The  Seekers. 

There  were  thirty-five  Polaroid  snapshots  of  potential 
playmates  and/or  pigeons.  Most  of  those  pictured  were 
nude  or  seminude.  Some  were  tied  up,  some  wore  masks, 
some  were  having  sex  with  animals;  there  were  two  of  a 
very  young  girl  in  her  underwear.  Young  and  not-so-young 
bodies  twisted  in  contortions  demonstrating  almost  every 
sexual  position  known  to  man — or  beast — including  a  few 
that  seemed  entirely  new,  even  to  the  FBL 

Donald  Kennedy  Majors  had  an  operative  seven-point 
indictment  out  on  him  involving  weapons  violations,  and 
this  was  on  top  of  the  warrants  out  of  Wyoming  and  Wash- 
ington. A  federal  grand  jury  in  Des  Moines,  Iowa,  had  is- 
sued a  bench  warrant  for  Majors  on  June  25  for  violation 
of  the  Dyer  Act,  which  involves  taking  a  stolen  vehicle 
across  state  lines. 

His  FBI  rap  sheet  went  all  the  way  back  to  1947,  and 

286 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

he'd  fallen  for  almost  everything  from  being  AWOL  to 
forgery,  unlawful  flight,  kidnapping,  armed  robbery,  and 
grand  theft.  The  list  was  almost  an  encyclopedia  of  crime. 

Still,  although  he'd  bragged  about  killing,  Don  Majors 
had  never  been  convicted  of  murder.  At  least,  not  yet. 

Majors  was  booked  into  jail,  and  FBI  agents  talked 
with  Tana  Chippewa  and  Shireen  Gillespie.  Shireen  said 
she'd  met  Majors  sometime  in  January  when  he'd  checked 
into  the  motel  in  Nebraska  where  she  was  the  manager. 
The  long,  lean  "cowboy"  from  Washington  had  enjoyed  a 
bonanza  with  Frank  Monohan's  credit  cards.  He  turned  on 
the  charm  for  Shireen,  a  lonely  woman  who  felt  trapped 
and  bored  in  her  job  in  the  Midwest  motel. 

When  he  checked  out  of  the  motel,  Majors  promised  to 
call  and  come  back.  And  he  did.  When  he  asked  her  to, 
Shireen  willingly  quit  her  job,  and  provided  her  car  and 
her  savings  for  the  next  meandering  trip  west  to  Califor- 
nia. If  she  wondered  who  the  credit  cards  belonged  to  that 
Majors  used  when  her  money  ran  out,  or  why  Don  was 
buying  items  in  one  town  and  selling  them  in  another,  she 
didn't  ask  questions.  Her  new  lover's  sexual  charisma  had 
her  enthralled. 

They'd  picked  up  Tana  Chippewa  in  Sacramento.  Tana's 
"old  man"  was  in  jail  and  she  was  at  loose  ends.  She'd 
quickly  accepted  Majors 's  invitation  to  travel  with  him  and 
Shireen. 

But  the  con  games  he  practiced  were  much  more  than 
Tana  had  bargained  for.  The  two  women  were  supposed  to 
serve  as  sexual  bait  to  haul  in  men  whose  names  Majors 
had  gleaned  ft"om  the  swingers'  magazines. 

It  was  a  pretty  good  scam.  Victims,  fleeced  of  their 

287 


ANN  RULE 

valuables,  weren't  anxious  to  go  to  the  police.  Respected 
citizens  who  had  kinky  sex  hangups  didn't  want  them  on 
the  public  record.  Even  the  man  in  Wisconsin  who  had  al- 
most been  blown  to  smithereens  by  the  gasoline-lightbulb 
bomb  had  refused  to  file  charges. 

Majors  was  full  of  braggadocio  and  claimed  to  be  far 
more  accomplished  than  he  really  was.  One  item  found  on 
him  when  he  was  arrested  was  a  card  issued  to  Frank 
Monohan  showing  he  had  a  private  pilot's  license.  Majors 
had  carefiilly  blanked  out  the  "small  plane"  designation 
and  Monohan 's  name.  He  had  skillfully  changed  it  to  read 
that  he  was  "Major  Donald  Kennedy,"  licensed  to  fly 
"multi-engine  jets."  However,  the  original  printing  re- 
mained traced  in  the  celluloid  envelope  the  license  was 
carried  in. 

Tana  and  Shireen  had  gone  along  with  Majors 's  rip-off s 
of  his  would-be  swinging  targets.  They  had  seen  his  care- 
fully cataloged  notebooks,  and  they  weren't  in  the  dark 
about  what  his  game  was.  But  Tana  had  balked  when  it 
came  to  killing.  That  was  why  she'd  slipped  out  of  the 
motel  room  in  Matteson  to  call  the  FBL 

And  Majors 's  promises  of  a  wonderful  "vacation" 
across  America  had  worn  thin.  They  were  eating  at  fast- 
food  joints  and  sleeping  in  cheap  motels.  More  than  that. 
Majors  constantly  told  the  two  women  that  they  were 
going  to  have  to  step  up  their  operation  of  enticing  the  se- 
cretive weirdos  into  traps  where  they  could  be  robbed. 

"We  were  barely  making  it,"  Tana  Chippewa  said.  "Even 
when  Don  had  stolen  credit  cards  from  his  victims.  He 
wanted  money — lots  and  lots  of  it — and  he  didn't  much 
care  how  he  got  it.  But  he  just  wasn't  very  good  at  it." 

288 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 


The  case  that  had  begun  when  Frank  Monohan  disap- 
peared in  mid-December  1974  ended  its  first  chapter  in 
July  1975.  Majors  was  convicted  of  the  charges  hanging 
over  him  and  was  safely  behind  bars;  the  women  were  al- 
lowed to  go  free,  and  they  traveled  back  to  Sacramento, 
where  Shireen  moved  in  with  Ted  Aust,  Majors 's  old 
prison  buddy.  Tana  decided  to  wait  for  her  man  to  get  out 
ofjaiL 

In  Chelan  County,  Bill  Patterson  still  didn't  have  what 
he  needed  to  bring  charges  of  murder  against  Majors  in  the 
death  of  Frank  Monohan.  Certainly  there  was  no  question 
that  the  men  had  known  each  other,  and  that  Majors  had 
stolen  Monohan 's  credit  cards.  But  that  wasn't  enough  to 
convince  a  jury  that  Majors  had  killed  Monohan.  Patterson 
needed  physical  evidence  or,  better  yet,  an  eyewitness.  So 
much  time  had  passed  between  Monohan 's  disappearance, 
the  finding  of  his  body,  and  Majors 's  arrest  in  Illinois  that 
finding  an  eyewitness  would  be  like  finding  an  unbroken 
egg  left  on  the  field  after  the  Rose  Bowl. 

But  Patterson  is  a  most  determined  man,  and  his  per- 
sonal conviction  was  that  Donald  Kennedy  Majors  was 
probably  the  most  dangerous  criminal  he'd  ever  come  up 
against.  He  wasn't  about  to  abandon  his  investigation. 

Majors  had  bragged  to  the  women  and  male  pals  that 
he'd  killed  "thirty-three  and  a  half  people."  Were  these 
only  the  ravings  of  an  egomaniac,  or  could  his  statements 
be  true? 

Majors  explained  the  "half"  by  recalling  how  he'd  shot 
a  man  in  his  Los  Angeles  apartment  with  a  .22.  Majors 

289 


ANN  RULE 

said  he'd  gone  there  to  set  up  one  of  his  "phony  orgies." 
The  bullet  had  allegedly  hit  the  man  in  the  head,  but  it  had 
only  knocked  him  unconscious. 

"I  convinced  him  he'd  just  had  a  spell  or  a  fit,"  Majors 
laughed  to  friends.  "He  left  and  then  he  had  an  accident. 
The  L.A.  cops  pegged  it  as  a  traffic  fatality!" 

Patterson  now  had  many  more  names  and  addresses 
culled  from  the  notebooks  Majors  carried  in  his  travels. 
The  stubborn  detective  was  prepared  to  talk  to  everyone 
he  could  locate  in  the  hope  that  he  could  find  the  missing 
link  he  needed.  He  knew  that  there  had  been  a  "man  in  his 
thirties"  when  Majors  went  on  his  buying  spree  with 
Frank  Monohan's  credit  cards.  Maybe,  somewhere  in  his 
list  of  names,  he'd  find  that  man.  It  was  even  possible  that 
that  man  had  actually  witnessed  Monohan's  murder. 

One  of  the  first  people  Patterson  found  was  the  man 
who  counted  as  the  "half"  murder.  Only  he  wasn't  dead, 
and  he  hadn't  been  killed  in  a  traffic  accident.  And  he 
didn't  live  in  Los  Angeles.  He  lived  in  Spokane,  Washing- 
ton, where  he  held  a  most  respected  professional  position. 

The  man,  like  almost  all  the  other  swingers  Patterson 
contacted,  didn't  want  to  talk  to  him.  Still,  he  finally  admit- 
ted there  had  been  an  odd  occurrence  one  evening  when 
Majors  came  to  his  apartment.  He  said  he'd  bent  over  to 
adjust  the  stereo,  and  the  next  thing  he  knew,  he  was  lying 
on  the  floor  with  a  terrible  headache  and  Majors  was  on  top 
of  him,  twisting  his  arm  behind  his  back. 

"I  had  blood  on  my  head,  but  Don  told  me  I'd  had  a 
seizure,  hit  my  head  on  a  sharp  corner,  and  that  he  was  just 
trying  to  bring  me  out  of  it." 

Patterson  had  little  doubt  that  that  man  was  walking 

290 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

around  with  a  .22  slug  in  his  head.  "But  he  won't  have  an 
X-ray,"  Patterson  says.  "He  doesn't  want  to  know  what's 
causing  his  headaches;  he  doesn't  want  to  be  involved  in 
any  investigation  that  might  blow  the  cover  off  his  respect- 
ability." 

As  far  as  the  other  thirty-three  murder  victims  that 
Majors  claimed,  he  might  well  have  been  telling  the  truth. 
More  likely,  he  was  starting  with  the  tmth  and  then  shad- 
ing it  with  his  talent  for  dramatic  embellishment. 

Bill  Patterson  was  in  touch  with  law  officers  from  New 
York  to  Oregon.  He  found  dozens  of  cases  where  well- 
dressed  businessmen's  bodies  were  found  dumped  along 
side  roads,  their  credit  cards  missing.  Eight  of  the 
unsolved  cases  resembled  Donald  Majors 's  MO  very 
closely  and  were  near  enough  to  the  itinerary  that 
Patterson  charted  from  the  credit-card  hits  that  the  Chelan 
County  detective  felt  Majors  could  have  been  involved. 
Three  murders  in  Tucson,  Arizona,  seemed  to  have 
Majors 's  stamp  on  them,  and  Patterson  placed  him  fifty 
miles  away  from  the  death  sites  around  the  same  time. 
There  was  another  in  Cicero,  Illinois — and  more  across 
the  country.  All  were  men  who  had  received  phone  calls, 
gone  out  to  meet  someone,  and  never  returned. 

Coincidence?  Or  validation  of  Don  Majors 's  boasting 
that  he  was  a  champion  killer?  The  term  "serial  killer"  had 
not  yet  been  coined  in  the  midseventies,  but  in  the  more 
than  three  decades  since  then,  several  cross-country  truck 
drivers  have  often  proved  to  kill  in  a  serial  manner. 

Bill  Patterson's  main  task,  however,  was  to  forge  the 
essential  link  in  the  Monohan  case.  Over  the  next  two 
years,  he  picked  up  the  burgeoning  case  file  and  perused  it 

291 


ANN  RULE 

over  and  over  again  to  try  to  find  something  he  might  have 
missed.  He  talked  to  hundreds  of  people,  people  caught  up 
in  Majors's  life  in  both  direct  and  tangential  ways.  Frank 
Monohan's  murder  ate  at  Bill  Patterson,  taunting  him 
silently. 

In  spring  1977,  Patterson  journeyed  to  Sacramento  to 
talk  again  with  Ted  Aust  and  Shireen  Gillespie.  He  knew 
that  Majors  had  stolen  a  credit  card  from  one  of  Aust's 
friends  in  May  1975  at  Aust*s  home  in  Sacramento,  and  he 
wanted  to  talk  with  Shireen  again. 

Shireen  had  long  since  grown  disillusioned  with  the 
man  who*d  promised  her  a  new  home  with  all  her  furniture 
shipped  out  from  Nebraska.  Don  Majors  had  said  he 
would  marry  her;  instead  he  fleeced  her  of  her  life's  sav- 
ings and  involved  her  as  a  sexual  decoy  in  their  headlong 
flights  across  the  country. 

Two  years  later,  she  was  more  than  willing  to  talk  in 
detail  about  something  Majors  had  once  told  her.  Patter- 
son wondered  if  it  was  just  another  of  his  fantasies  or  if  it 
might  actually  be  real? 

"Don  told  me  this  story,"  Shireen  began.  "He  told  me 
that  he'd  driven  across  a  mountain  pass  with  some  boy 
who  had  his  mother's  car.  He  told  me  about  killing  some 
guy  and  dumping  him." 

This  was  new  information,  and  Patterson  weighed  it, 
hoping  that  it  was  Majors's  admission  to  the  murder  of 
Frank  Monohan. 

He  was  thinking  about  it  as  he  and  Aust  tore  up  the 
floorboards  of  a  bedroom  in  Aust's  house  and  crawled 
down  into  the  space  beneath  the  floor.  Majors's  former 


292 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

cellmate  had  suddenly  recalled  that,  when  Majors  visited 
him  in  May  of  1975,  he'd  seen  him  tear  up  some  papers  or 
credit  cards  before  they'd  repaired  a  sinking  floor  and 
boarded  it  up.  That  was  the  day  that  Elroy  Smollett  had 
helped  with  the  remodeling,  the  day  that  Smollett's  gas 
credit  card  vanished. 

Patterson  remembers  that  night  in  Sacramento  well: 
"We  were  down  there  with  the  rats  and  the  black  widow 
spiders,  and  there  was  a  storm  and  the  lightning  and  thun- 
der was  rattling  the  house.  We  didn't  find  the  torn-up 
credit  cards,  but  I  suddenly  had  a  revelation  that  was 
stronger  than  any  bolt  of  lightning  outside.  Shireen  had 
been  telling  me  about  a  'kid  with  his  mother's  car.' 

"And  suddenly  I  knew  who  the  second  man  was,  the 
day  Majors  used  Monohan's  credit  card  to  go  on  the  buy- 
ing spree  on  December  14,  1974.  All  the  time,  we  thought 
we  were  looking  for  another  man — but  it  wasn't  another 
man.  It  was  a  kid,  the  one  kid  I'd  talked  to  who'd  idolized 
Majors,  the  kid  who  had  once  thought  Majors  was  a  hero. 
It  had  to  be  Curt  Goss!  Majors  lived  with  Gerda  Goss  and 
Curt — who  was  sixteen  then — right  up  until  the  time 
Monohan  disappeared!" 

Patterson  was  on  the  road  and  headed  back  to  Quincy, 
Washington,  in  no  time.  Shireen  had  said  a  boy  was  a  wit- 
ness to  murder,  and  the  boy  had  to  be  Curt  Goss. 

It  was  May  4,  1977,  when  Patterson  confronted  the  now 
nineteen-year-old  Curt  Goss.  When  Patterson  asked  the 
youth  if  he'd  gone  to  Seattle  with  Don  Majors  in  Decem- 
ber of  1974,  he  answered  yes. 

"We  drove  my  mother's  car,  a  1972  Caprice." 


293 


ANN  RULE 

Curt  said  Majors  had  told  him  the  reason  for  their  trip 
was  to  talk  to  a  man  in  Seattle  about  the  trucking  business. 
Majors  had  called  the  man  from  a  pay  phone. 

"He  told  me  we  were  going  to  have  dinner  with  him. 
And  we  met  him  at  the  Holiday  Inn." 

"What  did  he  look  like?"  Patterson  asked. 

"Middle-aged.  He  had  gray  hair,  and  he  was  well 
dressed.  He  said  his  name  was  Frank,  and  he  paid  for  a  big 
steak  dinner  for  all  of  us  at  the  Holiday  Inn." 

"Which  Holiday  Inn?" 

"The  one  on  the  Duwamish  River.  There  used  to  be  a 
drive-in  theater  across  the  highway  from  it." 

So  far,  everything  Curt  Goss  was  telling  him  matched 
other  information  they'd  had  for  three  years.  Patterson 
began  to  feel  a  slight  thrill  of  anticipation.  He  didn't  let 
Curt  see  that,  though. 

The  conversation  at  dinner  hadn't  been  about  the  truck- 
ing business — not  at  all.  It  had  been  about  Majors's 
ex-wife.  Majors  had  described  her  in  glowing  terms  and 
convinced  Monohan  that  they  should  leave  that  night  to 
drive  to  Quincy  so  that  the  wealthy  engineer  could  meet 
her.  Although  they'd  already  rented  two  rooms  at  the  prac- 
tically new  motel,  charged  to  Frank  Monohan 's  American 
Express  card,  the  two  men  and  the  sixteen-year-old  boy 
left  for  Quincy.  At  least.  Curt,  who  was  driving,  thought 
they  were  going  to  Quincy. 

"The  man — Frank — ^was  sitting  next  to  me  in  front,  and 
Don  was  in  the  back.  Don  told  me  which  turns  to  make, 
because  I  didn't  know  the  roads.  I  followed  his  instruc- 
tions to  turn  off  the  freeway  into  a  small  town  not  far  from 
the  motel.  It  was  late  and  it  was  raining  hard.  We  hadn't 

294 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

reached  the  Seattle  city  limits  when  Don  told  me  to  turn 
into  a  big  place  where  a  lot  of  trucks  were  parked  and  to 
stop  the  car.  I  stopped,  and  he  looked  around  and  told  me 
to  drive  on. 

"We  drove  all  around  these  little  side  streets  and  then 
he  told  me  to  stop  again  in  this  place  that  was  mostly 
vacant  lots.  That's  when  he  shot  Mr.  Monohan." 

For  Patterson,  it  was  almost  unbelievable.  After  years 
of  trying  to  get  Don  Majors  pinned  to  the  wall,  he  finally 
had  his  eyewitness,  someone  who  had  been  only  inches 
away  from  Frank  Monohan  when  he  was  shot. 

"I  heard  this  loud  explosion,"  the  teenager  continued. 
"And  then  Frank  just  fell  over  next  to  me.  I  almost  drove 
off  the  road  from  the  shock.  I  couldn't  believe  Don  had 
actually  killed  the  man." 

Majors  had  told  Curt  Goss  to  keep  driving  toward 
Quincy.  "He  said  he  would  kill  me  too  if  I  tried  to  go  to  the 
police."  Curt  believed  him;  he'd  just  seen  ample  proof  of 
what  Don  Majors  was  capable  of 

They  headed  up  1-90  toward  Snoqualmie  Pass  some 
fifty  miles  away.  To  people  in  other  cars,  Frank  Monohan 
appeared  only  to  be  asleep,  but  the  terrified  teenager  could 
smell  the  blood  that  was  dripping  into  puddles  on  the  car 
floor.  He  felt  as  if  he  was  living  in  a  nightmare. 

"When  we  got  up  to  North  Bend,  Don  told  me  we 
were  going  to  stop  and  put  Frank  in  the  trunk.  We  went 
a  little  past  North  Bend  and  onto  the  side  of  the  road  and 
parked." 

It  was  pitch  dark  by  then,  and  fir  trees  loomed  like  dark 
monsters  as  Curt  and  Don  Majors  carried  the  deadweight 
of  Monohan 's  body  and  loaded  it  into  the  trunk.  The  car 

295 


ANN  RULE 

seat  and  floor  were  saturated  with  blood,  but  it  was  dark 
and  Majors  figured  no  one  would  see  it. 

"We  stopped  at  a  truck  stop  beyond  North  Bend  for 
coffee,  and  Don  told  me  to  shape  up,  that  what  was  done 
was  done." 

"So  you  kept  going  to  Blewett  Pass  and  dumped  the 
body?"  Patterson  asked. 

"No,"  Curt  said.  "We  turned  around  and  went  back  to 
the  Holiday  Inn  south  of  Seattle.  We  had  those  two  rooms 
that  Frank  paid  for,  and  we  were  beat.  We  slept  the  night 
there." 

"Where  was  Frank  Monohan's  body?" 

"It  was  in  the  trunk." 

Curt  Goss  said  they  had  eaten  a  leisurely  breakfast,  and 
then  dumped  Monohan's  pickup  truck  in  the  back  comer 
of  a  tow  yard,  where  Don  Majors  didn't  think  it  would  be 
found  for  a  long  time. 

Patterson  was  baffled  by  the  thought  that  Frank  Mono- 
han  waited  in  the  trunk  of  Majors 's  borrowed  car. 

"So  what  happened  next?"  he  asked,  bending  his  head 
over  a  yellow  legal  pad,  taking  notes  so  Curt  couldn't  see 
the  expression  on  his  face. 

"Then  we  went  Christmas  shopping.  We  went  to  a  cloth- 
ing store,  a  shoe  store.  He  got  a  train  set  and  tracks  for  his 
son.  He  got  a  camera.  We  went  in  a  lot  of  stores." 

Around  noon,  on  December  14,  they'd  headed  back 
home  to  Quincy.  At  Blewett  Pass,  Majors  told  Ciirt  they 
were  going  to  dump  the  body,  the  body  that  had  lain  in  the 
trunk  while  Majors  used  the  victim's  credit  card  for 
Christmas  shopping. 

"I  was  afraid  he  was  going  to  kill  me,  too,"  Curt  said. 

296 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

"So  I  did  everything  he  told  me  to.  We  waited  until  there 
were  no  cars,  and  Don  took  Frank's  feet  and  I  took  his 
head  and  we  threw  him  in  a  snowbank.  Then  we  drove  on 
into  Wenatchee  and  Don  made  me  clean  the  blood  out  of 
the  car  in  the  car  wash  there.  Later,  when  my  mom  asked 
why  the  seat  was  wet,  he  told  her  he  spilled  a  coke  on  it." 

Curt  said  they'd  gone  to  his  mother's  home,  where  they 
spent  the  night.  He'd  been  afraid  to  tell  his  mother  what 
had  happened. 

"I  didn't  tell  her  about  it  until  six  months  later,  and  then 
we  were  both  too  frightened  of  him  to  tell  anyone  else." 

"Would  you  be  willing  now  to  testify  in  a  court  of  law 
about  what  you  just  told  me?"  Patterson  asked  Curt. 

"Yes.  If  it  means  we  could  put  this  nut  away." 

Frank  Monohan  had  had  no  warning  at  all  that  he  was 
about  to  die.  He'd  believed  he  was  on  the  way  to  meet  a 
warm  and  willing  woman  who  was  "dying  to  meet  him." 
He  hadn't  even  been  nervous  about  the  side  trip  they'd 
made  into  the  little  town  of  Auburn  to  look  at  "some 
trucks." 

And  he  had  died  without  a  sound  when  Don  Majors 
shot  him  from  the  backseat  of  Gerda  Goss's  car. 

Curt  said  that  he,  his  mother,  and  Majors  had  gone  to 
Yakima  the  next  day  to  do  more  "Christmas  shopping." 

"I  knew  my  mother  was  scared  because  Don  never  had 
any  money  and  now  he  had  all  those  clothes  and  cameras, 
and  he  was  buying  more,  but  she  didn't  ask  him  about  it." 

Even  though  they  hadn't  told  anyone  about  what  hap- 
pened, Gerda  and  Curt  Goss  had  lived  a  life  of  quiet  dread 
ever  since. 

"During  the  last  two  and  a  half  years — ever  since  it 

297 


ANN  RULE 

happened,"  Curt  Goss  told  Patterson,  "we've  had  threats 
from  Don  Majors  on  the  phone.  And  strangers  have  called. 
My  mom  and  I  have  feared  for  our  lives.  I  still  do,  but  I 
think  it's  time  that  I  told  about  this  and  I  think  he  should 
be  kept  in  prison." 

Curt  Goss  said  that  he'd  suspected  Majors  had  dark 
secrets  when  he  was  living  in  their  home. 

"He  changed  the  lock  on  the  bedroom  door  and  he  used 
it  for  his  'office.'  I  could  hear  him  typing  in  there.  He  got  a 
lot  of  letters  every  time  he  went  to  the  post  office  box  in 
George.  He  told  me  he  was  writing  a  book — but  I'd  seen 
some  of  those  magazines  with  the  pictures  in  them." 

"Have  you  had  any  contact  with  him  since  he  went  to 
prison?"  Patterson  asked. 

"Yeah.  He  wrote  me  fi*om  jail.  They  were  dirty,  filthy, 
obscene  letters  like  the  stuff  they  had  in  those  bondage 
magazines.  I  don't  know  why  he  wrote  to  me  like  that.  He 
just  seemed  to  like  to  write  about  it." 

"Why  didn't  you  call  the  police  once  he  was  in  jail?" 

"Because  we  received  a  phone  call  from  a  man  who 
said  he'd  been  in  jail  with  Don  and  he  said  he  could 
arrange  a  deal  to  take  care  of  us.  We  were  always 
frightened.  We  just  burned  the  letters  because  they  were 
too  filthy  to  keep." 

"  Oddly,  though  the  case  of  Frank  Monohan's  disappear- 
ance and  murder  had  been  worked  principally  by  Chief 
Deputy  Bill  Patterson  in  Chelan  County  and  Detective 
Bud  Jelberg  in  Seattle,  this  new  information  showed  that 
Monohan  had  actually  been  killed  in  King  County.  Patter- 
son forwarded  all  the  information  he  had  to  the  King 


298 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

County  Sheriff's  Office,  and  Detective  Mike  Gillis  took 
over  the  case. 

GilHs  and  Detective  Sergeant  Harlan  Bollinger  talked 
to  the  teenage  eyewitness  and  elicited  the  same  informa- 
tion he'd  given  to  Bill  Patterson.  He  rode  with  them,  point- 
ing out  the  spot  on  the  outskirts  of  Auburn  where  Monohan 
had  been  shot,  and  then  leading  them  along  the  route  to 
Blewett  Pass  where  the  body  was  dumped. 

"Just  when  did  you  tell  your  mother  that  you'd  been 
with  Majors  when  he  shot  Frank  Monohan?"  Gillis  asked. 

"Not  until  the  first  time  Detective  Patterson  came  to 
talk  to  her.  I  told  her  then,  and  she  started  to  cry.  But  we 
were  so  scared  of  him,  afraid  he'd  come  back  and  get  us." 

With  the  information  that  Bill  Patterson  had  uncovered 
on  Donald  Kennedy  Majors  and  the  eyewitness  he  now  had 
to  Frank  Monohan 's  death.  King  County  deputy  prosecutor 
Greg  Canova  brought  charges  of  first-degree  murder 
against  Majors. 

In  the  summer  of  1978,  Majors  was  allowed  to  plead 
guilty  to  second-degree  murder.  When  he  did  so,  there 
were  many  sighs  of  relief  from  nervous  swingers  all  over 
America  who  now  would  not  have  to  testify  about  their 
secret  sex  lives  in  open  court. 


Don  Majors  served  two  consecutive  life  sentences,  where 
he  no  longer  had  access  to  a  typewriter. 

Frank  Monohan 's  fate  might  serve  as  a  deterrent  to 
those  would-be  swingers  who  advertise  in  a  whole  new  way 
in  this  twenty-first  century,  searching  for  "love"  partners. 


299 


ANN  RULE 

With  the  Internet,  it's  easier  to  do  now,  and  anyone  online 
has  to  cope  with  dozens  of  unwelcome  messages  from  por- 
nographers  and  willing  sex  partners. 

A  shocking  example  of  the  danger  of  the  Internet 
occurred  shortly  after  I  wrote  the  first  draft  of  this  book. 
A  serial-killer  suspect,  Phillip  Markoff,  was  arrested  on 
charges  of  murder  and  robbery  after  finding  his  targets 
on  Craigslist.  Known  as  the  "Craigslist  Killer,"  Markoff 
was  a  promising  medical  student  in  New  England  and 
engaged  to  be  married.  Although  the  charges  against  him 
have  yet  to  go  to  trial,  Markoff  appears  to  have  another — 
secret — life,  marked  by  gambling  addiction  and  crimes  of 
violence  against  women. 

How  Don  Majors  would  have  loved  the  Internet  with  its 
constant  opportunities  to  find  easy  victims.  If  he  is  still 
alive,  he  would  be  nearly  ninety  years  old  now,  and  proba- 
bly no  longer  a  threat  to  anyone. 

Don  Majors  is  far  past  his  career  as  a  vicious  con  artist 
and  killer,  but  there  are  others  v/ho  fill  his  shoes.  Your  next 
e-mail  might  well  be  a  message  from  another  opportunist 
not  unlike  Majors. 

Although  he  never  turned  down  an  opportunity  for  sen- 
sual pleasure,  Majors 's  main  goal  was  always  to  see  how 
much  he  could  milk  from  the  unwary  men  who  answered 
the  phony  ads  he  placed.  The  number  of  victims  he 
robbed,  beat,  or  killed  probably  won't  ever  be  known. 

Chief  Deputy  Bill  Patterson  did  find  out  that  he  gained 
entry  into  the  homes  of  lawyers,  doctors,  teachers,  and 
businessmen,  all  people  whose  choice  of  friends — apart 
from  the  sexual  lure  he  introduced  to  them — would  never 
have  included  Donald  Kennedy  Majors.  But  invite  him  to 

300 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 

their  homes  they  did,  and  he  kept  their  names,  their 
addresses,  their  pictures,  all  neatly  cataloged  against  the 
day  he  wanted  more  from  them  than  changing  partners. 

This  is  a  cautionary  tale.  Most  who  read  it  will  have  no 
interest  in  what  Donald  Majors  was  offering  in  his  "sure 
thing"  racket,  but  the  world  is  full  of  all  manner  of  con 
games.  Our  trust  should  be  given  thoughtfully  and  only 
after  we  have  time  to  evaluate  those  we  meet. 

How  long  Donald  Majors  would  have  continued  in  his 
wicked  ways  is  an  impossible  question  to  answer.  But 
sadistic  sociopaths  don't  change — not  as  long  as  they  are 
physically  able  to  carry  our  their  plans.  Or  until  they 
are  locked  up.  Or  they  die. 

Majors  didn't  realize  he  was  coming  up  against  the  best 
detectives  in  Seattle,  King  County,  Chelan  County,  and  the 
FBI.  Nor  could  he  have  known  that  Chelan  County's  Bill 
Patterson  would  never  quit  until  he  saw  Majors  convicted 
for  the  cowardly  murder  he  thought  he'd  gotten  away  with. 

Most  sociopaths  will  only  break  your  heart,  steal  your 
money,  or  take  your  job.  Sadistic  sociopaths  will  kill  you 
without  blinking  an  eye. 


301 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS 
YOU  CAN 


I 


DEATH  IN  PARADISE:  THE  HAUNTING 
VOYAGE  OF  THE  SPELLBOUND 


Gary  Edwards  on  the  sailing  ship  the  Spellbound.  Gary  joined 

his  father,  stepmother,  half  sister,  and  a  friend  on  a  dream  trip  to 

Papeete.  What  happened  on  that  cruise  is  horrifying  beyond  belief. 


fcs^klL 


Friends  and  relatives  greet  the  survivors  of  the  Spellbound  disaster 

as  they  fly  into  Seattle.  Lori  Huey  is  second  from  left;  she  was  the 

only  sailor  to  escape  uninjured.  Kerry  Edwards  is  third  from  left. 

The  slash  over  her  eye  is  evident,  and  later  she  would  be  diagnosed 

with  a  skull  fracture.  Port  of  Seattle  police  officers  whisked 

them  to  a  private  area  so  they  could  escape  from  media 

cameras,  and  a  curious  crowd. 


SHARPER  THAN 
A  SERPENT'S  TOOTH 


When  King  County  sheriff's  deputies  saw  Lorraine  Millroy's 

purses  partially  burned  in  her  fireplace,  they  feared  for 

her  safety.  {Police  photo) 


Lorraine's  son's  bedroom  was  cluttered,  and  detectives  found 
bloodied  tissues  there.  {Police  photo) 


King  County  major  crimes 

detective  Sam  Hicks  was 

one  of  the  first  investigators 

at  the  empty  house  where 

Lorraine  Millroy  had  once 

lived,  and  Hicks  stayed  with 

the  dark  mystery  until  the 

end.  Sadly,  Sergeant  Hicks 

was  killed  in  the  line  of  duty 

a  few  years  later  when  he 

was  shot  by  a  fugitive. 

(Ann  Rule  Collection) 


( 


Lieutenant  Frank  Chase 
brought  forth  some  bizarre 
admissions  when  he 
interviewed  Dusty  Millroy. 
Even  so,  it  took  a  long  time 
to  find  out  what  had  become 
of  Lorraine  Millroy. 
{Ann  Rule  Collection) 


When  hunters  stumbled  upon  what  they  thought  was  a  deer  carcass, 

they  were  shocked.  They  called  King  County  Police,  and  the  frigid 

scene  in  the  mountain  foothills  was  soon  alive  with  investigators. 

{Police  photo) 


Dusty  Millroy  had  plunged  so  deeply  into  drugs  that  changed  his 

reality  that  nothing  made  sense  to  him.  He  was  afraid  of  intruders, 

and  upset  because  he  had  finally  been  barred  from  his  childhood 

home.  Ahhough  his  family  loved  him,  they  didn't  know 

what  else  to  do.  {Police  photo) 


MONOHAN'S  LAST  DATE 


^ 


Frank  Monohan 
believed  he  was  headed 
for  a  date  with  an 
attractive  and  willing 
woman  when  he  joined 
acquaintances  he 
trusted  on  a  trip  over  a 
Washington  mountain 
pass.  He  was  actually 
headed  into  oblivion. 
{Police  photo) 


Don  Majors  was  active  in 
the  "swingers"  lifestyle. 
He  was  a  consummate 
con  man  and  as  cold- 
blooded as  they  come. 
Women  were  drawn  to 
his  six-foot-five  frame 
and  his  ice  blue  eyes. 
Frank  Monohan  believed 
in  him  completely,  and 
didn't  realize  he  was  only 
a  vulnerable  patsy  for  the 
cross-country  truck  driver. 
{Police  photo) 


I 


Seattle  police  detective 
Bud  Jelberg  worked 
missing  persons  cases 
for  many  years.  He'd 
been  searching,  without 
success,  for  wealthy 
Frank  Monohan,  who 
had  been  missing  for 
months.  {Ann  Rule 
Collection) 


Chelan  County  chief  of 

detectives  Bill  Patterson 

was  trying  to  identify  a 

frozen  body  on  Blewett 

Pass  in  his  county. 

When  Patterson  and 

Jelberg  compared  notes, 

they  realized  that  their 

unfinished  puzzles 

could  be  completed. 

(Ann  Rule  Collection) 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 


;s^^^ill 


iKWi      mm 


m^^m 


Wi 


Seward  Park  has  three 
hundred  acres  of  jogging 
trails,  forest,  and  waterfront. 
So  many  people  flock  there 
in  the  summer  that  there  is  a 
sense  of  safety  in  numbers, 
even  along  the  trails  that 
wind  through  the  isolated 
forest  sections. 


Penny  DeLeo  usually  ran  the 

two-mile  trail  in  Seward  Park 

every  morning.  On  her  last 

run,  she  didn't  come  back. 


Seward  Park  offered  a 
swimming  beach,  too,  and 
'^3     police  officers  chased  a 
""^^     suspect  to  the  water's  edge 
before  he  surrendered. 


Penny  DeLeo's  killer's  motive  for  murder  wasn't  robbery. 

The  young  housewife  and  mother  still  wore  an  expensive  watch 

and  a  large  diamond  ring  when  her  body  was  discovered 

in  Seward  Park.  {Police  photo) 


Joyce  Gaunt  was  in  trouble 

at  her  foster  home  for 

staying  out  too  late.  She 

promised  to  come  home, 

but  she  didn't.  Her  body 

was  found  in  Seward  Park, 

and  Seattle  police  detectives 

thought  about  her  unsolved 

case  as  they  worked  the 

crime  scene  where  Penny 

DeLeo  died.  The  two  cases 

had  several  commonalities. 

{Police  photo) 


Seattle  homicide 

detective  Wayne 

Dorman  and  his  partner 

that  summer  morning, 

Ted  Fonis,  were  the  first 

investigators  at  the  body 

site  in  Seward  Park. 

The  victim's  family  had 

already  filed  a  missing 

report,  so  Dorman  and 

Fonis  were  quite  sure 

the  dead  woman  was 

Penny  DeLeo.  {Ann  Rule 

Collection) 


Ted  "Teddy  Bear" 
Fonis  agreed  with 
Dorman  that  someone 
had  probably  watched 
Penny  DeLeo  as  she 
jogged  daily  in  the  park, 
someone  who  waited 
for  a  time  when  she  was 
alone  on  the  path.  (Ann 
Rule  Collection) 


Homicide  detective  Billy 
Baughman.  Baughman, 
along  with  detective 
John  Boatman,  took 
statements  from  a  most 
unlikely  suspect  in  the 
murder  of  Penny  DeLeo. 
(Ann  Rule  Collection) 


Detective  Dick  Reed 

executed  a  search 

warrant  on  the  suspect's 

bedroom  and  took 

photographs  that 

showed  their  quarry  had 

everything  he  might 

want — from  clothes  to 

"toys."  It  was  disastrous 

for  his  innocent  victims 

that  none  of  these  things 

staved  off  his  sexual 

compulsions  about 

women.  Reed  found 

clothes  that  matched 

witnesses'  description  of 

the  killer  in  the  park. 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 


Keith  Person,  fifteen,  had  tried  to 
protect  his  fi-iend  Camilla  Hutcheson,' 
but  their  abductor  shot  him  in  the  spiij 
Had  he  survived,  he  would  have  been 
paralyzed.  His  body  lies  next  to  Scattc 
Creek.  Camilla  jumped  into  the  creekl 
to  escape  the  man  with  the  gun  and  to 
get  help  for  Keith.  But  it  was  too  late. 
{Police  photo) 


King  County  Sheriff's  Office  major 

crimes  detective  Ted  Forrester  had 

worked  most  of  the  complicated  murder 

cases  in  his  department.  A  soft-hearted 

man,  Forrester  was  horrified  when  he 

heard  what  had  happened  to  Keith  and 

Camilla.  He  was  assigned  to  their  case 

from  the  beginning — when  he  responded 

to  a  call  for  help  at  Scatter  Creek.  Even 

Forrester,  who  had  questioned  numerous 

sadistic  sociopaths,  had  trouble  finding 

a  motive  for  the  attack  on  the  unlucky 

teenagers.  {Ann  Rule  Collection) 


Vietnam  veteran  Jerry  Lee 
Ross  terrorized  two  high 
school  students  who  were   ■ 
simply  taking  a  walk  in 
the  small  town  where  they  ■ 
lived.  He  had  a  wife  and     j 
two  little  girls,  and  he  was  ' 
proud  that  he  had  once  been 
a  marine.  Why  did  he  kill? 
{Police  photo) 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 


Belinda  and  Richard 

Cowden  at  an  anniversary 

celebration.  Their 

marriage  was  good,  they 

lived  in  their  own  home, 

and  they  had  a  little  boy,  a 

new  baby  girl,  and  a  close 

extended  family.  They 

went  into  the  woods  to 

celebrate  Labor  Day  with 

a  campout  trip — but  they 

never  came  home.  What 

happened  to  them  was 

almost  unbelievable. 


Five-year-old  David 
Cowden  walked  a  mile 
to  the  general  store  with 
his  father  on  Sunday  of 
the  Labor  Day  weekend. 
They  bought  milk  and 
with  their  dog,  "Droopy," 
headed  back  for  their 
camp  where  Belinda  and 
five-month-old  Melissa 
waited. 


Wes  Cowden,  sole  survivor  of  the  three  tightly  bonded 
Cowden  brothers,  holds  photographs  of  his  brother 

Richard  and  his  family,  as  he  talks  to  reporters 

from  the  Eugene  Register-Guard  on  the  sixteenth 

anniversary  of  their  disappearance.  The  whole  family 

was  still  haunted  by  the  loss,  and  needed  closure. 

(Eugene  Register-Guard) 


In  this  faded  photograph,  baby-faced  Dwain  Lee  Little 
is  only  sixteen.  His  story  made  headlines  because  he 

was  the  youngest  convict  ever  to  be  sent  to  the 
Oregon  State  Penitentiary  in  Salem.  Authorities  did 

their  best  to  rehabilitate  Dwain,  guards  and  older 
prisoners  looked  out  for  him,  and  his  education  was 
probably  better  than  he  would  have  received  on  the 
outside.  None  of  his  supporters  expected  him  to 
re-offend  after  he  was  paroled,  but  Warden  Hoyt 
Cupp  and  forensic  psychiatrists  weren't  so  sure. 


Dwain  Lee  Little's  mug  shot  at  his  re- 
arrest for  carrying  a  deadly  weapon  in 
1975.  At  twenty-seven,  he  was  quite 
handsome,  and  a  jealous  girlfriend 
reported  him  to  police. 


Dwain  Little  in  about  1977, 

when  he  was  paroled  from  the 

Oregon  State  Penitentiary  once  again. 

He  moved  to  the  Beaverton  area, 

got  married,  and  seemed  to  be  adhering 

to  his  parole  stipulations  carefully. 


Dwain  Little  after  his  arrest 
near  Portland  in  1980  for  yet 
another  violent  crime.  He 
was  soon  headed  back  to  the 
penitentiary. 


Dwain  Little  at  the  age  of  sixty 

in  2008,  still  locked  behind  bars  in 

the  Oregon  State  Penitentiary. 

He  is  determined  to  be  paroled 

again,  but  that  isn't  likely.  He 

has  allegedly  confessed  the  worst 

of  his  crimes  to  a  fellow  inmate, 

but  he  will  not  talk  to  detectives. 


Seattle  is  a  paradise  for  athletes  of  all  kinds — skiers, 
boaters  and  sailors,  and,  of  course,  joggers.  The  Emerald 
City  is  located  in  a  spot  in  Washington  State  where  both 
the  Pacific  Ocean  and  the  Cascade  Mountains  are  only  a 
little  more  than  an  hour  away,  and  King  County  is  rife  with 
parks,  trails,  and  quiet  roads  where  traffic  is  light  and  the 
air  is  fi^esh  and  clean. 

And  the  joggers  run — some  to  rid  themselves  of 
pounds  accumulated  over  the  years,  some  to  improve 
their  heart  and  lung  capacity,  and  some  for  the  sheer  joy 
of  it.  It  would  seem  that  there  could  be  no  healthier 
choice  for  young,  middle-aged,  and  even  elderly  joggers. 
Yes,  it  would  seem  so,  but  that  wasn't  true  in  the  late 
summer  of  1978. 

Running  the  popular  trails  in  Seattle's  verdant  Seward 
Park  became  as  dangerous  as  free-fall  skydiving  or  hang 
gliding.  Someone  was  watching  and  waiting  in  the  dense 
thickets  of  fir,  maple,  and  madrona  trees  of  the  vast  park 
that  edges  the  western  shore  of  Lake  Washington,  some- 
one consumed  with  thoughts  of  violence  and  killing. 

Most  people  think  of  Seattle  as  being  cloudy  and  rainy, 

305 


ANN  RULE 

but  that  isn't  true  in  July  and  August.  Temperatures  rise 
into  the  nineties  then,  and  a  hundred-degree  day  isn't  un- 
heard of.  Before  the  heat  of  these  summer  days  becomes 
oppressive,  many  joggers  choose  to  switch  their  workouts 
to  early  morning  hours.  With  so  many  runners  showing  up 
at  Seward  Park  before  most  people  have  breakfast,  lone 
female  joggers  felt  perfectly  safe.  Penny  DeLeo,  thirty- 
three,  had  been  part  of  the  "morning  crew" — as  some  run- 
ners called  themselves — for  two  months,  and  she  felt  no 
fear  at  all  as  she  ran  along  paths  that  often  seemed  like 
tunnels  through  the  trees. 

If  Penny  DeLeo  was  aware  of  the  murder  of  a  young 
girl  in  the  park  the  previous  winter,  she  had  forgotten 
about  it.  Although  the  homicide  death  of  seventeen-year- 
old  Joyce  Gaunt  on  February  17  had  gone  unsolved,  it 
hadn't  even  been  mentioned  in  the  local  media  for  several 
months. 

Everything  had  been  "normal"  in  the  park  for  so  long 
that  the  specter  of  death  was  the  last  thing  on  Penny 
DeLeo 's  mind  as  she  scribbled  a  hurried  note  to  her 
young  son  at  7:30  a.m.  on  Tuesday,  August  8. 

"I've  gone  running,"  she  wrote.  "Will  be  back  soon. 
You  may  watch  TV  until  I  get  home.  Love,  Mom." 

Then  Penny  kissed  her  husband  good-bye  as  he  hurried 
out  the  front  door  to  catch  a  bus  to  work.  Shortly  after  that, 
she  backed  her  new  metallic  brown  Toyota  Celica  out  of 
their  garage,  and  drove  to  Seward  Park. 

Penny  wore  a  T-shirt,  blue  and  white  shorts,  and  green 
running  shoes — ^her  usual  exercise  attire.  There  was  noth- 
ing unusual  about  this  morning.  She  expected  to  be  home 


306 


i 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

to  fix  breakfast  for  her  son  within  an  hour,  probably  before 
he  even  woke  up. 

But  this  morning  was  to  be  different — earthshakingly 
different.  Nothing  in  their  lives  would  ever  be  the  same 
again. 

Penny  DeLeo  didn't  return  from  the  park  all  day.  Her 
son  watched  television  for  a  while,  and  then  he  got  dressed 
and  went  out  to  play  with  his  friends.  He  was  curious 
about  where  his  mother  might  be,  but  he  was  too  young  to 
be  aware  of  the  dangers  of  the  world. 

Shortly  before  5:00  p.m.,  Penny's  husband  came  home 
from  work  and  found  that  she  was  nowhere  in  their  house. 
He  asked  his  eight-year-old  son  where  his  mother  was,  and 
was  stunned  when  the  boy  said  he  hadn't  seen  her  all  day. 

Her  car  was  gone,  the  beds  were  unmade,  and  the 
kitchen  counter  was  a  mess  of  crumbs  and  peanut-butter 
smears  where  the  boy  had  made  himself  sandwiches. 

DeLeo  felt  the  hairs  stand  up  on  the  back  of  his  neck  as 
a  sensation  of  absolute  dread  crept  over  him.  Where  was 
Penny?  A  check  with  her  friends  netted  no  information. 
No  one  had  heard  from  her  all  day.  He  called  Seattle  po- 
lice and  reported  his  wife  as  a  missing  person,  stressing 
that  Penny  had  never  left  home  before,  and  that  it  was  un- 
thinkable that  she  would  leave  their  son  unsupervised  all 
day.  Patrolman  Deimis  Falk  drove  to  the  DeLeos'  home 
and  talked  to  her  worried  husband. 

Falk  jotted  down  a  description  of  the  Toyota  and  its  li- 
cense number — IYR-544.  He  then  drove  slowly  through 
all  the  parking  areas  in  Seward  Park  and  found  no  sign  of 
the  vehicle. 


307 


ANN  RULE 

Next,  he  proceeded  to  parking  areas  along  the  beach. 
The  hydroplane  races,  a  big  draw  for  thousands  of  people 
who  attend  Seattle's  Seafair,  had  taken  place  only  a  few 
days  before  on  Lake  Washington.  Falk  checked  all  the  pos- 
sible places  to  park  from  Seward  Park  to  some  distance 
north  of  the  Stan  Sayre  hydroplane  pits. 

And  he  didn't  find  a  metallic  brown  Celica.  He  drove 
the  loop  road  near  Lake  Washington  where  Penny  DeLeo 
always  ran,  and  then  perused  the  area  around  the  bath- 
house where  her  husband  said  she  normally  stopped  for  a 
drink  of  water  after  her  run. 

But  Penny  DeLeo  was  gone.  It  didn't  seem  possible 
that  someone  could  disappear  fi-om  that  park,  which  was 
alive  with  people  from  dawn  to  long  after  dusk  on  such  a 
beautiftil  summer's  day — but,  somehow,  she  had.  Her  ago- 
nized family  spent  a  sleepless  night,  waiting  for  a  phone 
call,  anything  that  would  let  them  know  she  was  all  right. 

The  police  couldn't  take  an  official  missing  report  until 
Penny  had  been  gone  for  at  least  twenty-four  hours.  Most 
adults  leave  of  their  own  accord,  for  their  own  reasons,  and 
come  back  when  they  feel  like  it.  But  from  the  beginning 
Dennis  Falk  had  a  "hinky"  feeling  about  Penny — an  intui- 
tive cop's  slang  for  something  that  isn't  right,  even  when 
they  can't  say  why.  And  the  feeling  wouldn't  go  away. 

Shortly  before  10:00  the  next  morning,  a  bird-watcher 
tracked  an  osprey  in  Seward  Park  with  his  binoculars. 
Edging  deeper  into  the  woods,  well  beyond  the  trail  he'd 
been  on,  the  man  spied  what  he  thought  was  a  pile  of 
clothes.  Moving  closer,  he  was  stunned  to  see  the  almost 
nude  body  of  a  woman  lying  prone  on  a  carpet  of  leaves. 

Forgetting  completely  about  the  habits  of  water  birds, 

308 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

the  man  ran  to  a  phone.  Seattle  Police  patrol  officers,  Tact 
Squad  members,  and  handlers  with  their  K-9  dogs 
responded  within  minutes  to  the  "found-body"  alert. 

The  officers  confirmed  that  there  was  a  woman's  corpse 
in  the  park.  They  cordoned  the  area  off  with  yellow  crime 
scene  tape  while  they  waited  for  detectives  from  the  homi- 
cide unit  to  arrive. 

And  then,  incredibly,  the  activity  in  the  park  escalated. 
A  man  ran  up  to  them,  shouting,  "Someone  just  tried  to 
rape  my  wife!" 

The  officers  quickly  determined  that  the  would-be  rape 
victim  was  safe  at  the  moment— if  hysterical.  They 
obtained  a  description  of  the  suspect  in  that  attack.  Since 
it  had  just  occurred,  they  figured  he  was  still  in  the  park. 

They  wanted  to  find  him  as  quickly  as  possible — before 
he  managed  to  vanish  into  the  crowd  that  had  come  to  beat 
the  heat  of  the  day. 

The  descriptions  they  received  from  witnesses  were 
quite  similar  to  one  another.  They  were  looking  for  a  black 
male,  six  feet  to  six  feet  two,  and  slender.  According  to 
observers,  he'd  been  wearing  a  soft  white  hat,  red  and 
white  checked  pants,  and  a  long-sleeved  white  shirt.  That 
outfit  would  certainly  make  him  stand  out. 

On  police  orders,  Seward  Park  was  immediately  sealed 
off;  there  was  no  way  for  the  rape  suspect  to  escape  unless 
he  went  by  water,  and  that  outlet,  too,  was  monitored  by 
boats  from  the  Seattle  Police  Harbor  Patrol  Unit.  Air  One, 
the  department's  helicopter,  was  now  hovering  overhead. 

Two  of  the  patrol  officers  drove  the  jogging  loop  road 
as  they  searched  for  the  suspect.  They  soon  came  across  a 
pretty  female  jogger  accompanied  by  her  large  dog.  They 

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ANN  RULE 

warned  her  of  the  danger  and  took  her  safely  to  the  park 
gates. 

"You  know,"  she  began,  "I  did  see  a  man  dressed  in  red 
and  white,  with  a  floppy  white  hat  on — " 

"Where  was  he?" 

"Near  the  bathhouse.  He  started  to  go  down  to  the 
north  end  of  the  park  as  I  headed  south." 

It  was  a  weird  situation.  The  Seattle  police  might  be 
looking  for  one  man  who  was  responsible  for  both  a  mur- 
der and  an  attempted  rape.  On  the  other  hand,  they  might 
be  tracking  two  different  men  who  had  erupted  into  vio- 
lence during  the  same  twenty-four-hour  period.  The  latter 
hardly  seemed  likely. 

While  the  homicide  crew  headed  to  Seward  Park  to 
start  their  investigation  into  what  appeared  to  be  a  murder, 
more  and  more  police  cars  moved  in  to  seal  off  all  exits 
and  to  search  for  the  man  who  had  tried  to  rape  the  latest 
victim,  who  identified  herself  as  Tricia  Long.* 

Was  a  killer-rapist  stupid  enough  to  return  to  the  park 
the  day  after  Penny  DeLeo  vanished,  and  then  assault  a 
second  woman?  A  lot  of  killers  have  been  known  to  hang 
around  the  rim  of  a  police  investigation,  reliving  the  thrill 
of  the  murder  they've  committed.  If  he  wasn't  stupid,  he 
was  probably  obsessed  with  bloodshed  and  wanted  a 
front-row  seat  to  watch  what  came  after. 

Still  shaking,  Tricia  Long  agreed  to  go  to  police  head- 
quarters to  give  a  statement  to  detective  Merle  Camer  in 
the  Crimes  Against  Persons  Unit. 

Tricia  told  Camer  that  she  had  gone  to  the  park  earlier 
that  Wednesday  morning  with  her  husband,  their  baby,  and 
her  sister-in-law.  The  two  women  planned  to  jog  the  loop, 

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RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

as  Tricia  was  training  to  run  in  a  women's  marathon  and 
wanted  to  scout  the  course. 

"We  made  one  loop  together,"  she  said,  "and  then  my 
sister-in-law  got  a  really  bad  cramp  in  her  leg  and  we 
couldn't  massage  it  away.  So  I  told  her  I  could  run  alone. 
My  sister-in-law  went  back  to  feed  the  ducks  with  my  hus- 
band and  our  baby." 

"What  happened  next?"  Camer  asked. 

"As  I  was  running,  I  could  see  this  tall  black  man  up 
ahead,  who  was  sitting  under  a  tree,"  Tricia  recalled. 
"When  I  got  within  about  twenty-five  feet  of  him,  he  stood 
up  and  moved  onto  the  pathway.  He  didn't  look  at  me — he 
was  facing  away  fi*om  me.  He  was  just  standing  in  the 
middle  of  the  asphalt  path." 

"You  weren't  frightened  at  that  point?" 
'  "No,  not  really.  He  didn't  seem  menacing,  but  he  was 
acting  kind  of  strange — fidgety — with  his  hands  at  his 
waist.  As  I  passed  him,  he  didn't  make  any  move  toward 
me.  I  kept  right  on  running.  But  then,  about  ten  yards  far- 
ther on,  I  heard  some  footsteps  running  up  behind  me." 

Tricia 's  words  came  faster,  and  Merle  Camer  noted  that 
her  face  was  washed  of  color. 

"Almost  simultaneously,"  she  said,  "he  grabbed  me 
fi-om  behind  with  his  left  arm  around  my  shoulder,  trying 
to  put  his  hand  over  my  mouth.  He  wasn't  holding  me  that 
tightly,  but  he  said,  'I  kill  you!  I  kill  you! '  " 

She  said  she'd  fought  the  stranger,  trying  to  get  free  of 
his  grip  on  her  shoulder.  She  had  looked  to  see  if  he  had  a 
weapon  or  if  he  was  just  threatening  her. 

"I  saw  a  whitish,  plastic  handled,  short  kitchen  knife 
about  five  inches  long — like  a  steak  knife." 

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ANN  RULE 

"What  went  through  your  mind  at  that  point?"  Camer 
asked. 

"Naturally,  I  feared  that  he  was  going  to  rape  me.  But, 
when  he  said,  'I  kill  you!  I  kill  you,'  I  believed  he  would. 
He  was  pushing  me  from  behind,  trying  to  get  me  off  the 
roadway  toward  the  woods.  We  struggled.  I  started  scream- 
ing my  husband's  name  and  yelling  'Help!'  I  was  fighting 
him  with  my  arms  and  legs  as  hard  as  I  could. 

"It  seemed  like  an  eternity,  but  I  think  it  was  only  about 
ten  seconds.  Then  he  suddenly  let  go  of  me  and  went  run- 
ning off  into  the  woods." 

Tricia  Long  recalled  running  faster  than  she  had  ever 
run  before,  screaming  at  the  top  of  her  lungs,  and  her  hus- 
band and  sister-in-law  heard  her  and  came  running.  They 
had  tried  to  call  police  via  a  marine  radio  on  one  of  the 
boats  at  the  park's  dock,  but  that  failed. 

It  was  at  that  point  that  the  Long  family  had  come 
across  the  police  officers  who  were  the  first  responders  to 
the  "found-body"  report. 

Tricia  was  sure  she  could  identify  her  assailant  if  she 
saw  him  again. 


It  was  10:15  a.m.  when  detectives  Ted  Fonis  and  Wayne 
Dorman  checked  out  the  fully  equipped  crime  scene  van. 
The  morning  was  warm  and  hazy,  and  the  sun  was  blurred 
by  a  smoky  overcast  caused  by  forest  fires  high  up  in  the 
mountains  east  of  Seattle.  Fonis  and  Dorman  were  two  of 
the  most  experienced  homicide  detectives  in  their  divi- 
sion, having  spent  many  years  there  honing  their  craft. 


312 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

They  worked  together  easily,  rarely  having  to  speak.  They 
could  almost  read  each  other's  minds. 

After  passing  through  the  tight  cordon  at  the  entrance 
to  Seward  Park,  the  homicide  team  was  directed  to  a 
wooded  area  close  to  the  bathhouse.  It  was  near  the  north 
loop  on  the  lower  level  of  the  park,  and  they  were  glad  to 
see  that  it  was  roped  off  and  closely  guarded  by  several 
police  officers. 

The  two  detectives  walked  up  an  inclined  path  into  a 
thick  cluster  of  trees  where  the  path  became  a  lonely  trail. 
The  grass  here  was  matted  down,  as  if  a  struggle  had  taken 
place. 

They  saw  soiled  clothing  just  off  the  trail:  a  woman's 
top,  white  with  blue  trim;  a  pair  of  running  shorts  of  the 
same  colors;  and  beige  panties. 

Her  body  lay  twenty-five  feet  away.  She  was  nude,  save 
for  a  white  bra,  and  a  pair  of  green  and  blue  running  shoes 
and  socks. 

"She  can't  weigh  more  than  a  hundred  pounds,"  Wayne 
Dorman  commented.  "She  couldn't  have  put  up  much  of  a 
fight." 

The  victim  lay  on  her  stomach,  with  her  legs  spread 
wide.  They  couldn't  yet  see  her  face  but  saw  that  she  had 
chestnut-colored  hair,  cut  short. 

"I  guess  we  can  say  that  robbery  wasn't  a  motive,"  Ted 
Fonis  said.  "She's  still  wearing  a  couple  of  thousand  dol- 
lars' worth  of  jewelry." 

They  looked  at  her  left  arm  where  she  still  wore  an 
expensive  wristwatch.  She  had  a  gold  band  ring  with  a 
large   diamond  on  the  third  finger  of  her  left  hand. 


313 


ANN  RULE 

Ironically,  the  watch  was  still  running  and  gave  the  cor- 
rect time. 

"Whoever  he  was,"  Dorman  said,  "he  was  angry.  If  it 
was  a  'he.'  Either  he  knew  her  and  wanted  to  punish  her, 
or  he  was  mad  at  the  world." 

They  could  see  that  the  petite  woman  had  been  stabbed 
again  and  again,  too  many  times  to  count — in  her  back, 
buttocks,  thighs,  even  her  neck.  Her  right  wrist  was  cut  so 
deeply  that  the  tendons  had  been  severed,  possibly  a  de- 
fense wound  suffered  when  she  tried  to  fight  back. 

Oddly,  a  pattern  was  etched  in  blood  on  her  thighs  and 
back.  It  looked  like  the  crisscross  soles  of  tennis  shoes. 
The  investigators  saw  that  the  same  pattern  appeared  in 
patches  of  sand  close  to  the  body. 

"The  canine  unit  just  ran  by  me,"  a  patrolman  called  to 
them.  "They're  tracking  someone  " 

If  the  dog  had  picked  up  on  a  scent,  the  killer  had  prob- 
ably returned  to  the  scene  of  his  crime,  because  this 
woman  in  front  of  Fonis  and  Dorman  had  been  dead  for  at 
least  twenty-four  hours.  Rigor  mortis  was  well  established, 
making  her  joints  rigid,  and  there  were  other  signs  that  she 
had  lain  in  the  woods  overnight. 

Looking  through  recent  missing  persons'  reports 
brought  to  the  park,  the  detectives  were  almost  certain 
they  had  found  Penny  DeLeo.  The  clothes  were  right,  the 
physical  description  was  right,  and  she  had  last  been 
known  to  be  heading  for  Seward  Park. 

The  King  County  Medical  Examiner,  Dr.  Donald  Reay, 
responded  personally  to  the  scene. 

"Doc  Reay,"  as  detectives  called  him,  knelt  next  to  the 
body,  examining  her  back  first. 

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RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

"The  bruises  near  her  tailbone  and  on  her  upper  right 
hip  occurred  before  her  death,"  Reay  said.  "But  all  these 
other  scrapes  on  the  rest  of  her  back  and  legs  happened 
after  she  died.  Her  killer  may  have  dragged  her  deeper  into 
the  woods  so  no  one  could  see  her." 

Penny  DeLeo's  murderer  had  shown  no  respect  at  all  to 
her  body,  a  significant  psychological  reaction.  And  this 
tended  to  strengthen  the  impression  that  he  had  been  con- 
sumed with  a  terrible  rage. 

Before  they  attempted  to  turn  the  victim's  body  over, 
Reay,  Dorman,  and  Fonis  carefully  placed  bags  over  her 
hands,  securing  them  with  rubber  bands.  If  she  had  her 
killer's  skin  under  her  fingernails,  or  hairs  from  his  head, 
or  anything  else  that  might  help  to  identify  him,  they 
didn't  want  to  lose  it. 

When  Penny  DeLeo  was  moved  to  a  supine  position, 
they  could  see  that  her  white  bra  was  stained  crimson  over 
her  breasts.  And  now,  more  wounds  were  apparent.  In  a 
murderous  frenzy,  the  man  who  assaulted  Penny  had 
stabbed  her  in  her  chest,  neck,  and  abdomen.  A  slender 
gold  chain  with  a  precious  stone  setting  was  caught  in  her 
hair. 

"She's  been  in  the  same  position  since  she  died,"  Reay 
pointed  out,  tracing  the  bright  purplish-red  striations  on 
her  chest,  stomach,  and  legs.  They  had  formed  when  her 
heart  stopped  pumping,  and  blood  sank  to  the  lowest  por- 
tion of  her  body. 

"This  lividity  pattern  is  classic  for  the  prone  position 
she  was  found  in,"  Reay  said.  "There  is  no  secondary 
lividity  that  we'd  see  if  she  was  moved  before  the  initial 
pattern  was  fixed." 

315 


ANN  RULE 

Detective  Wayne  Dorman  began  to  bag  the  evidence 
found  at  the  scene:  Penny  DeLeo's  clothing  and  running 
shoes,  her  jewelry,  and  even  some  of  the  matted  plants  and 
weeds  that  were  stained  with  her  blood.  The  detectives 
also  took  dozens  of  photographs  of  the  body  and  the  sur- 
rounding area. 

Penny  DeLeo  had  been  a  strong,  vigorous  young 
woman  in  the  peak  of  health,  but  no  woman  as  small  as 
she  was — or  even  a  tall,  husky  woman — could  have  with- 
stood what  appeared  to  be  a  extraordinarily  violent  attack. 
A  number  of  the  knife  wounds  had  probably  penetrated 
her  arteries  and  vital  organs. 

From  the  position  of  her  body,  the  motive  for  the  young 
mother's  murder  appeared  to  be  rape — or  attempted  rape. 
Perhaps  autopsy  findings  would  tell  the  investigative  crew 
something  more. 

Penny  DeLeo 's  car  hadn't  been  found  in  Seward  Park  or 
within  miles  of  it.  It  was  still  missing.  If  car  theft  was  the 
reason  she  was  attacked,  there  would  have  been  no  need  to 
kill  her.  It  would  have  been  so  easy  to  simply  overpower 
her  and  take  her  car  keys. 

A  description  of  the  missing  Toyota  Celica  was  broad- 
cast to  all  patrol  units  in  the  city,  along  with  an  admonition 
to  avoid  touching  the  vehicle  if  it  was  located.  "This  vehi- 
cle may  be  prime  evidence  in  an  open  homicide  case." 


When  Doc  Reay  finished  his  survey  at  the  murder  site. 
Penny  DeLeo 's  body  was  removed  by  the  medical  exam- 
iner's deputies  to  await  a  complete  postmortem  exam. 
As  detectives  Fonis,  Dorman,  and  Moore  prepared  to 

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RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

clear  the  scene,  they  received  news  that  the  patrol  units 
had  a  suspect  in  custody.  "He's  on  his  way  into  your  of- 
fices." 

A  patrol  officer  searching  the  southeast  portion  of  the 
park  had  seen  a  flock  of  crows  suddenly  take  to  the  air  as 
if  they'd  been  startled.  As  he  watched,  he  saw  a  tall  figure 
ninning  toward  the  water.  The  officer  radioed  his  position 
to  other  police  personnel  in  the  park.  Tact  Squad  officers 
Brian  Petrin  and  Larry  Miller  were  just  above  the  area 
where  the  fleeing  man  had  been  spotted.  They  quickly 
drove  their  car  onto  a  grassy  sweep  and  spotted  the  man, 
who  was  still  running. 

But  the  tall  runner  had  managed  to  get  himself  into  a 
dead  end  when  his  pursuers  drove  up  to  him,  blocking 
him. 

He  had  nowhere  left  to  go  when  Petrin  and  Miller  leapt 
from  their  vehicle  with  guns  drawn. 

"Lie  on  the  ground,"  Petrin  ordered  him. 

The  suspect  complied  and  moved  his  hands  to  his  back 
so  he  could  be  handcuffed.  When  they  searched  him,  they 
found  no  knife — or  weapon  of  any  kind. 

He  wore  no  hat,  so  they  didn't  know  if  he  was  the 
would-be  rapist  who'd  had  a  floppy  white  hat,  but  the  rest 
of  his  clothing  matched  the  description  of  the  man  cops  all 
over  Seward  Park  were  looking  for:  wine,  red,  and  white 
plaid  pants  and  high-topped  tennis  shoes.  If  he'd  had  a 
white  shirt  on  earlier,  he  was  bare-chested  now.  His  pants 
were  wet — as  if  he  had  been  wading  in  the  lake. 

Advised  of  his  rights,  the  suspect  said  he  understood. 

Although  he  was  bigger  than  most  grown  men,  at  six 
feet  one  and  1 70  pounds,  he  told  Petrin  and  Miller  that  he 

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ANN  RULE 

was  only  fifteen  years  old.  When  they  looked  at  him  more 
closely,  they  could  see  that  was  probably  true;  he  had  a 
youthftil  cast  to  his  features,  and  areas  on  his  jaw  where 
whiskers  hadn't  sprouted  yet. 

"What's  your  full  name?"  Larry  Miller  asked. 

"Lee  Wayne  Waltham."* 

"What  were  you  doing  in  the  park  this  afternoon?" 

"I  just  came  down  to  swim  about  twenty  minutes  ago," 
he  mumbled. 

"How'd  you  get  in  the  park?"  Officer  Miller  asked. 
"We've  had  it  blocked  off  for  almost  three  hours." 

"A  guy  I  know  dropped  me  off  from  his  boat,  and  I 
waded  in." 


At  Seattle  police  headquarters,  detectives  Billy  Baughman 
and  John  Boatman  prepared  to  question  the  youthful  rape 
suspect.  His  clothes  were  taken  into  evidence,  and  he  was 
handed  coveralls  to  put  on. 

Now,  three  teams  of  detectives  were  working  on  the  in- 
tricate case — or  possibly  two  cases.  There  was  still  no  way 
of  knowing  if  the  cases  were  intertwined  or  mere  coinci- 
dence. Half  of  the  seventeen  men  assigned  to  the  homicide 
unit  were  deep  into  one  phase  or  another  of  the  murder  or 
the  attempted  rape. 

Detectives  Chuck  Schueffele,  Merle  Garner,  and  Al 
Lima  were  talking  with  the  attempted-rape  victim,  Ted 
Fonis  and  Wayne  Dorman  were  processing  evidence  from 
the  murder  scene,  and  now  John  Boatman  and  Billy 
Baughman  were  seeing  the  prime — and  only — suspect  for 
the  first  time. 

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RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

Investigators,  who  had  spread  out  around  Seward  Park, 
located  a  maple  tree  adjacent  to  the  route  Tricia  Long  had 
taken.  It  was  an  ordinary  bigleaf  maple  and  there  were 
scores  of  them  in  the  park.  However,  this  one  had  a  pile  of 
cigarette  butts  littering  the  ground  beneath  it.  Anyone  who 
sat  or  stood  there  would  have  had  a  perfect  view  of  the 
jogging  path  in  both  directions. 

Had  the  rapist  and/or  killer  waited  there?  He  could 
have  had  plenty  of  time  to  pick  and  choose  the  victims  that 
appealed  to  him  most,  and  the  women  were  probably  un- 
aware of  his  presence  as  they  came  jogging  by  his  look- 
out spot.  The  huge  tree  hid  him,  and  he  could  also  have 
reassured  himself  that  no  one  else  was  nearby  to  identify 
him. 

Lee  Waltham  said  he  lived  with  his  parents  a  block 
from  the  park.  Baughman  and  Boatman  spent  a  great  deal 
of  time  going  over  the  Miranda  rights  form  with  him,  and 
they  asked  that  a  detective  from  the  Juvenile  division  be 
present  during  their  interview. 

The  suspect  admitted  early  in  the  questioning  that 
Waltham  wasn't  his  real  name.  "My  last  name  is  really 
DuBois,"*  he  said. 

"Why  didn't  you  give  the  first  officers  your  real  name?" 
John  Boatman  asked. 

Waltham /DuBois  shrugged.  "I  don't  know,  really.  I 
guess  I  was  scared — Waltham  is  my  real  father's  name, 
but  sometimes  I  use  my  stepfather's  name.  That's  DuBois. 
And  that's  the  name  I  use.  That's  my  half  brother's  name — 
he's  eight." 

They  let  that  go;  they  could  check  on  whether  they  had 
his  legal  name  later. 

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ANN  RULE 

"What  did  you  do  this  morning?"  Boatman  asked.  "Like 
when  did  you  get  up,  where  did  you  go,  and  so  forth?" 

"I  got  up  about  nine  thirty,  and  walked  over  to  the 
hydroplane  pits.  They  were  still  cleaning  up  from  the  races 
'cause,  you  know,  people  leave  a  lot  of  trash  behind." 

DuBois  said  he'd  watched  the  cleanup  crews  for  a 
while,  and  then  he'd  met  a  man  who'd  offered  him  a  ride  in 
his  boat. 

"Then  he  took  me  over  by  the  fish  hatchery  and  let  me 
out  in  the  shallow  water,"  the  tall  youth  said.  "I  waded  in 
the  water,  trying  to  catch  some  little  fish  that  were  there.  I 
kept  my  shoes  on  because  I  was  afraid  the  crawfish  would 
bite  me.  I  was  just  getting  out  to  take  my  shoes  off  when 
the  two  policemen  arrested  me." 

"Did  you  assault  a  woman  earlier  this  morning?" 
Baughman  asked. 

"No,  I  didn't  do  it." 

"Didn't  do  what?"  Baughman  asked  immediately. 

"Whatever  you're  asking  me  about." 

"What  did  you  do  yesterday?"  Boatman  asked. 

DuBois 's  answer  came  quickly,  almost  as  if  he'd  memo- 
rized it.  "I  got  up  around  six  thirty  and  went  to  the  high 
school  to  play  basketball.  I  got  home  at  nine.  I  met  my 
cousin  Reilly  Jones,*  who's  up  visiting  from  L.A.,  and  we 
went  walking  over  to  Boeing  Hill.  We  got  home  about  one 
thirty.  I  worked  around  home,  watched  TV  with  my  little 
brother,  had  dinner,  and  then  did  some  yard  work.  When  it 
was  dark,  I  watched  the  Tuesday  night  movie  and  the  pro- 
gram after  that,  and  went  to  bed  around  eleven." 

It  was  a  very  precise,  complete  schedule  of  the  day 
before,  almost  too  precise. 

320 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

"Did  you  kill  that  girl  yesterday?"  Boatman  cut  in,  star- 
tling DuBois. 

"I  didn't  do  that." 

DuBois 's  statements  seemed  innocent  enough,  but  he'd 
been  wearing  pants  exactly  like  the  ones  Tricia  Long  had 
described.  There  weren't  a  lot  of  double-knit  slacks  in  a 
plaid  pattern  that  featured  wine,  red,  and  white.  The  socks 
he  still  wore  looked  as  though  they  had  bloodstains  on 
them.  That  could  be  tested  in  the  crime  lab.  His  shoes  were 
Nike  tennis  shoes  with  a  distinctive  ridged  pattern.  Crimi- 
nalists would  also  be  able  to  tell  if  that  pattern  matched  the 
marks  on  Penny  DeLeo's  back  and  was  etched  in  the  sand 
near  her  body. 

The  investigators  pointed  out  time  factors  involved  in 
the  two  crimes  and  the  evidence  they  had  already  uncov- 
ered. 

"There's  simply  no  way  that  you  could  have  gotten  into 
or  out  of  Seward  Park  after  that  woman  was  attacked  by 
the  rapist,"  Billy  Baughman  said.  "Either  our  harbor  boats 
or  the  patrol-car  cordon  would  have  stopped  you." 

The  teenage  suspect  stared  at  him,  shrugged,  and  made 
no  comment,  but  little  beads  of  perspiration  dotted  his 
forehead. 

"Do  you  want  to  talk  about  it  now?" 

Lee  DuBois  said  nothing. 

"The  victim  from  this  morning  has  already  identified 
your  pants — she's  here  in  our  office,  and  she  says  she  can 
identify  the  man  who  grabbed  her,"  Lieutenant  Bob  Holter 
said  quietly.  "Did  you  do  it?" 

Now,  the  youth  silently  nodded  his  head. 

"Did  you  kill  the  woman  in  the  park  yesterday?" 

321 


ANN  RULE 

Again,  he  nodded  his  head. 

"What  did  you  do  with  the  knife?" 

"I  dropped  it." 

DuBois  agreed  to  give  Billy  Baughman  and  John  Boat- 
man an  account  of  his  crimes.  Before  taking  a  statement, 
the  detectives  tried  to  contact  Lee's  family,  calling  their 
home  every  ten  minutes  for  more  than  an  hour. 

No  one  answered. 

Although  they  are  always  blamed  for  what  their  off- 
spring do,  no  real  guidelines  exist  to  predict  which  parents 
are  going  to  have  problem  children.  There  are  so  many 
causes  for  teenagers  going  astray,  and,  sometimes,  there  is 
no  cause  at  all.  Lee  DuBois  was  a  teenager  whose  actions — 
whatever  they  might  be — would  surely  prove  agonizing  to 
his  parents. 

Ironically,  Lee's  mother  was  a  woman  whose  many 
years  of  education  had  been  spent  learning  to  deal  with 
children's  problems.  She  held  a  doctorate  in  educational 
psychology.  Her  second  husband  and  Lee's  stepfather  was 
a  Boeing  engineer.  The  family  lived  in  a  very  nice  house 
in  a  wealthy  neighborhood  only  a  few  blocks  from  Seward 
Park. 

On  the  surface,  Lee's  home  appeared  to  be  stable, 
happy,  and  secure. 

But  that  was  only  on  the  surface,  and  like  most  fami- 
lies, there  were  secrets  no  one  knew  about. 


On  August  9,  1978,  Lee  DuBois  gave  a  taped  statement  to 
detectives  Baughman  and  Boatman,  while  Juvenile  detec- 
tive Ron  Massie  stood  by. 

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RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

"On  August  eighth,"  the  youth  began,  "I  walked  to  the 
tennis  courts  in  Seward  Park  about  six  thirty.  It  was  too 
hot  to  sleep,  and  I  wanted  to  find  a  place  to  put  in  my  toy 
hydroplane.  I  walked  halfway  around  the  road  that  leads 
around  the  park.  I  then  sat  down  in  the  shade  for  a  while 
between  the  road  and  the  beach  near  the  restroom.  A  Sa- 
moan  man  came  up  to  me.  I  told  him  my  sinuses  were 
bothering  me  and  he  told  me  he  had  sinus  trouble  also,  and 
he  gave  me  a  yellow  pill." 

There  were  many  Samoan  families  in  Seattle,  and  the 
University  of  Washington  football  squad  was  blessed  with 
a  number  of  them — who  quickly  became  athletic  heroes. 
Still,  DuBois's  story  had  a  dreamlike  quality  to  it,  and  the 
detectives  wondered  if  it  was  true. 

DuBois  said  he  didn't  want  to  take  the  pill  because  it 
had  no  "writing"  on  it  to  show  what  it  really  was.  When 
the  "Samoan"  told  him  it  was  because  it  was  the  "im- 
proved kind,"  that  reassured  him  and  he'd  swallowed  the 
pill. 

After  the  stranger  left,  DuBois  recalled  that  he  saw  a 
girl  jogging  down  the  road.  "I  would  say  she  was  about 
twent>'-six,  a  white  girl  in  shorts  which  were  blue  or  red. 
She  jogged  by  me  and  said,  'He  got  you,  huh?' 

"I  knew  she  meant  the  Samoan  as  she  smiled  at  him  as 
he  went  up  the  trail  off  the  road." 

Lee  said  the  woman  paused  a  few  moments  and  then 
began  jogging  again.  He  said  he  was  beginning  to  feel  pe- 
culiar from  the  pill  he'd  ingested,  and  he  got  up  and  ran 
after  the  woman. 

"She  stopped — as  if  she  had  a  cramp — and  I  asked  her 
what  she  meant  by  what  she'd  said,  but  she  didn't  tell  me. 

323 


ANN  RULE 

She  laughed  and  started  running.  I  ran  after  her.  I  put  my 
left  arm  around  her  neck  and  kept  asking  her  what  she'd 
meant,  but  she  still  wouldn't  tell  me.  Then  I  took  my  knife 
out  of  my  pocket  and  took  it  out  of  the  case.  I  pointed  the 
blade  at  her,  saying,  'You'd  better  tell.'  She  said,  'Okay,  but 
put  the  knife  away' " 

DuBois  had  complied,  and  he  described  the  knife  as  a 
"fish"  knife,  about  six  inches  long,  and  said  it  had  a 
wooden  case — designed  so  that  it  would  float. 

"I  told  the  woman  we  were  going  back  to  the  bath- 
rooms to  see  if  the  Samoan  dude  was  still  around.  The 
woman  was  walking  ahead  of  me  up  a  trail. 

"She  said  I'd  ordered  her  up  the  trail,  but  I  denied  that.  I 
turned  around  and  headed  back  down  the  trail  when  the 
knife  fell  out  of  my  pocket. 

"I  turned  around  and  saw  that  she  had  picked  it  up.  I 
told  her  to  give  it  back.  She  told  me  to  come  get  it,  and 
began  waving  it  at  me.  I  grabbed  one  of  her  wrists  and  cut 
myself  slightly  on  two  fingers.  She  fell  down  during  the 
struggle.  She  had  her  back  to  me  as  she  began  to  get  up. 
She  was  about  to  run  away  when  my  mind  kept  saying, 
'Kill  her — kill  her.'  I  walked  up  to  her  and  stabbed  her  five 
times  in  the  back.  She  fell  facedown  and  was  trying  to  get 
up  when  I  ran  away.  When  I  walked  out  of  the  trail  I  saw 
the  Samoan  dude  and  he  was  shaking  his  head  at  me,  say- 
ing 'Teh  .  .  .  tch  .  .  .  tch.'  I  hit  him  with  my  fist  and  then 
started  running.  He  chased  me  for  a  short  way  and  then 
stopped." 

DuBois  said  he  had  gone  home  then. 

"What  were  you  wearing  at  that  time?" 

"My  blue  coat  and  my  maroon  and  beige  pants.  Prior  to 

324 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

running  away,  I  stepped  on  her  neck  and  her  back.  I  was 
wearing  my  Nike  basketball  shoes." 

The  suspect  said  he  had  returned  to  the  park  the  next 
day  to  see  if  he  had  killed  the  woman. 

"I  stayed  in  the  road  and  looked  up,  but  I  didn't  go  up 
where  she  was.  I  don't  know  why  I  killed  the  girl.  Some- 
thing just  kept  telling  me  to  do  it." 

Lee  DuBois  also  admitted  to  assaulting  Tricia  Long, 
but  again,  he  hadn't  been  in  control  of  his  feelings.  The 
voice  inside  him  had  told  him  to  "kill .  .  .  kill." 

At  this  point,  detectives  were  finally  able  to  reach  the 
suspect's  parents.  His  mother  insisted  that  all  questioning 
stop,  and  she  said  she  was  going  to  contact  a  lawyer.  The 
investigators  agreed  to  her  request,  and  Lee  DuBois  was 
taken  to  the  Youth  Service  Center,  where  he  was  placed  in 
the  high-security  detention  section. 

Were  his  violent  actions  on  August  8  and  9  surprising? 
Not  really.  When  the  Seattle  investigators  checked  Juvenile 
records,  they  found  that  Lee  had  been  in  trouble  before. 
He'd  been  a  runaway  when  he  was  only  seven,  involved  in 
vandalism  when  he  was  ten,  and  accused  of  "indecent  lib- 
erties" when  he  was  just  twelve. 

He  did  have  a  history  of  sinus  problems  but  had  never 
been  known  to  take  drugs  of  any  kind  or  to  drink  alcohol. 
He  was  active  in  football,  basketball,  and  track. 

It  was  a  dreadftil  thing  to  contemplate,  but  it  looked 
like  a  boy  little  more  than  fifteen  years  old  was  behind  the 
ugly  murder  and  attempted  rape  in  Seward  Park. 

Although  DuBois  had  admitted  the  murder  and  the  at- 
tack to  Billy  Baughman  and  John  Boatman,  he  had  reso- 
lutely denied  that  there  was  any  sexual  motivation  in  his 

325 


ANN  RULE 

crimes.  He  could  not — and  would  not — explain  how 
Penny  DeLeo's  clothes  had  come  off,  and  he  grew  very 
disturbed  when  any  mention  of  sex  was  brought  into  the 
interview.  Nor  would  he  discuss  what  had  happened  to 
Penny  DeLeo's  car. 


The  postmortem  examination  of  Penny  DeLeo's  body 
showed  that  she  was  five  feet,  four  and  a  half  inches  tall, 
and  weighed  only  ninety-two  pounds — no  match  at  all  for 
a  youth  over  six  feet  tall  who  outweighed  her  by  almost 
seventy-five  pounds. 

Assistant  Medical  Examiner  Dr.  John  Eisele  found 
thirty-one  stab  wounds  scattered  over  the  hapless  woman's 
body.  As  Dr.  Don  Reay  and  the  first  detectives  on  the  scene 
had  suspected,  many  of  her  knife  injuries  would  have  been 
almost  instantly  fatal.  Her  jugular  vein  had  been  severed 
and  her  heart,  lungs,  and  abdominal  organs  pierced.  Her 
right  wrist  had  been  cut  so  deeply  that  the  tendons  were 
severed,  as  well  as  the  ulnar  and  radial  arteries. 

If  ever  there  was  an  example  of  overkill,  this  was  it. 
Penny  had  also  been  hit  hard  in  the  right  eye  by  some  kind 
of  blunt  object — ^possibly  a  fist.  The  only  saving  grace  for 
those  who  loved  her  was  that  she  had  probably  not  had 
time  to  be  afraid,  and  died  with  the  first  few  knife  thrusts. 
If  rape  had  been  attempted,  it  had  not  been  consummated. 

That  was  very  small  comfort. 

As  the  news  media  reports  of  the  murder  and  attack  in 
Seward  Park  escalated,  homicide  detectives  received 
phone  calls  from  several  joggers  who  had  seen  a  man  in 
the  park  who  seemed  to  be  acting  peculiarly. 

326 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

One  man  said  he'd  been  jogging  in  the  park  on  August 
8  at  7:15  a.m.  and  he'd  observed  a  tall,  slim  black  male 
watching  two  female  joggers.  The  man  was  obviously  try- 
ing to  keep  his  face  covered.  He'd  worn  a  white  hat,  light 
jacket,  and  solid-color  pants.  Several  women  had  also  seen 
the  tall  young  man  wearing  the  floppy  white  hat. 

At  8:00  p.m.  on  August  9,  the  Port  of  Seattle  Police  re- 
covered Penny  DeLeo's  Toyota  Celica  near  the  First  Ave- 
nue South  bridge,  miles  west  of  Seward  Park.  The  car  was 
taken  to  the  Seattle  Police  Department's  processing  room 
for  latent-print  examination. 

Criminalists  found  Lee  DuBois's  fingerprints  inside 
Penny  DeLeo's  car.  They  also  determined  that  the  ridges 
on  the  bottom  of  the  suspect's  shoes  matched  the  prints 
etched  in  blood  on  her  body. 

The  net  was  cinching  tighter. 

On  August  10,  detectives  interviewed  still  another 
young  woman  who  had  been  attacked  in  Seward  Park — a 
day  before  Penny  DeLeo's  murder.  This  woman,  Janet 
Carroll,*  a  nurse  employed  in  a  Seattle  hospital,  told 
them  that  she  had  been  jogging  in  the  park  on  August  7 
at  7:00  p.m. 

"I  was  rurming  on  the  east  loop  road,"  she  said,  "when  I 
saw  a  tall,  dark  young  man.  I  jogged  by  him  and  then  I 
heard  footsteps  behind  me.  He  grabbed  me  and  held 
something  sharp  against  my  stomach.  Then  he  threw  me 
over  the  bank  onto  the  rocks  on  the  lakeshore.  I  started  to 
crawl  back  up  and  saw  a  male  jogger  approaching.  When  I 
screamed  for  help,  the  boy  who'd  grabbed  me  ran." 

Ms.  Carroll  said  the  teenager  who'd  attacked  her  wore 
I  blue  jeans  and  a  light  blue  top  with  writing  on  it. 

327 


ANN  RULE 

The  MO  of  the  suspect  seemed  set,  although,  of  course, 
there  was  no  way  of  knowing  for  sure  if  he  had  used  the 
same  techniques  with  Penny  DeLeo.  She  could  no  longer 
tell  police  how  the  man  had  captured  her.  From  what  Lee 
said  of  his  deadly  encounter  with  her,  it  sounded  very 
similar  to  the  other  victims. 

The  tall  youth's  pattern  was  to  stand  in  the  running 
path,  facing  away  from  the  joggers,  let  the  women  pass 
him,  and  then  run  after  them,  grabbing  them  from  behind 
and  threatening  them  with  a  knife.  Now,  there  was  an 
attack  on  August  7,  a  murder  on  August  8,  and  a  third 
assault  on  August  9.  There  were  probably  other  rape 
attempts  or  even  completed  rapes,  but  the  victims  had 
been  too  embarrassed  to  report  them. 

On  August  16,  the  King  County  Juvenile  Court  declined 
jurisdiction  over  Lee  DuBois;  he  would  be  tried  as  an  adult 
for  murder  in  the  first  degree  and  two  counts  of  assault. 

Detective  Dick  Reed  joined  the  probe,  and  he  obtained 
a  search  warrant  for  inspection  of  the  suspect's  room. 
Reed  made  a  list  of  items  that  might  be  in  that  room,  but 
they  could  also  be  somewhere  in  Seward  Park:  a  long- 
sleeved  sweatshirt  believed  to  have  been  worn  by  DuBois 
during  the  murder,  the  car  keys  to  Penny's  Toyota,  the 
white-handled  fishing  knife,  a  floppy  white  hat,  blue  jeans, 
jean  jacket,  and  a  baby  blue  T-shirt  with  writing  on  it. 

Lee's  room  in  the  handsome  residence  near  the  park 
was  furnished  impeccably:  the  floor  was  carpeted,  it  had 
its  own  private  bathroom,  TV  and  stereo,  and  floor-to- 
ceiling  sliding  doors  opening  onto  a  lushly  landscaped 
yard.  Lee  could  clearly  come  and  go  through  the  sliders 
without  his  parents  knowing. 

328 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

The  room  was  very  neat,  and  Lee  DuBois's  clothes 
hung  on  hangers  in  the  closet — all  pointing  the  same  way. 
He  had  a  wardrobe  any  teenager  would  envy. 

Accompanied  by  the  suspect's  mother  and  his  lawyer, 
Dick  Reed  and  Ted  Fonis  searched  for  the  missing  clothes. 
They  found  several  pairs  of  blue  jeans,  jean  jackets,  and  a 
light  blue  shirt  with  "Adidas"  printed  on  it.  All  the  cloth- 
ing had  been  washed,  and  at  this  point  it  would  be  hard  to 
isolate  blood  spots  if  they  had  been  there.  Still,  some  of 
the  jeans  bore  dark  stains,  worth  analyzing  to  check  for 
any  vestige  of  blood. 

Dick  Reed  checked  off  just  a  few  items  listed  in  the 
search  warrant,  but  there  weren't  many  left.  Next,  they  did 
a  grid  search  of  Seward  Park,  beginning  at  the  spot  where 
Penny  DeLeo's  body  was  found.  They  failed  to  turn  up  any 
of  the  items  sought.  The  knife,  car  keys,  and  floppy  hat 
were  gone,  perhaps  hidden  in  the  waters  of  Lake  Washing- 
ton or  somewhere  in  the  thick  vegetation. 

Reed  received  a  call  from  still  another  female  jogger 
who  had  seen  a  tall  black  male  in  the  park  early  on  the 
morning  of  August  8 — just  about  the  time  Penny  DeLeo 
would  have  been  jogging. 

"He  was  sitting  under  a  big  maple  tree,"  she  said,  "and 
watching  joggers  on  the  trail.  I  was  alone,  but  there  were 
several  people  running  near  me.  I  guess  I  was  lucky." 

"Yes,  you  probably  were,"  Reed  said,  wondering  if  she 
really  could  fathom  just  how  lucky  she  was. 

Clearly,  Penny  DeLeo  had  been  chosen  for  attack,  pos- 
sibly because  she  had  the  misfortune  to  be  jogging  alone 
and  rounded  the  trail  loop  at  a  time  when  no  one  else  was 
around. 

329 


ANN  RULE 

And  possibly  for  her  shiny  new  car. 

Lee  DuBois's  only  alibi  for  where  he  was  at  the  time 
was  Reilly  JoneSj  his  cousin  from  Los  Angeles.  Jones  had 
already  returned  to  L.A.,  but  the  Seattle  homicide  detec- 
tives asked  that  a  Los  Angeles  Police  Department  detec- 
tive interview  him. 

Reilly  Jones's  statement  to  the  California  detective  filled 
in  many  of  the  blank  spots  during  the  three-day  period 
when  DuBois  allegedly  brought  down  a  reign  of  terror  on 
females  in  the  park. 

Reilly  said  he'd  been  in  Seattle  since  the  middle  of  July, 
and  had  spent  a  lot  of  time  with  his  cousin  Lee.  They'd 
gone  to  Seward  Park  on  the  afternoon  of  August  7. 

"Lee  told  me  that  he  would  have  a  car  the  next  day 
from  one  of  'his  girls,'  "  Reilly  recalled.  "I  wasn't  sure 
what  he  meant  by  that,  but  he  took  off  about  seven  p.m. 
and  headed  toward  the  jogging  trail  I  didn't  feel  like 
going  with  him,  so  I  went  home.  He  cam.e  home  at  eight 
and  told  me  again  he  was  going  to  have  a  car  tomorrow." 

(Janet  Carroll,  the  nurse,  was  seized  on  the  jogging  trail 
at  7:00  p.m.  on  August  7,  and  got  away  from  her  attacker.) 

Jones  said  that  he  had  seen  his  cousin  tuck  a  short- 
bladed  fishing  knife  in  the  elastic  anklet  band  of  his  right 
sock  on  either  August  6  or  7.  "He  told  me  he  carried  it  for 
protection." 

Reilly  Jones  said  he  thought  Lee  was  just  blowing 
smoke  about  getting  a  car — he  wasn't  even  old  enough  to 
have  a  driver's  license.  But  on  August  8,  Jones  said  that 
Lee  wakened  him  by  tapping  on  his  window  at  1 1 :00  a.m. 

"He  was  tapping  with  car  keys.  There  was  only  one  key 
on  the  ring." 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

DuBois  had  bragged,  "I  told  you  I  was  going  to  get  a 
car!" 

Lee  changed  his  clothes,  and  Reilly  saw  him  throw  a 
pair  of  green  corduroy  pants  into  the  closet.  Then  Lee  in- 
sisted on  taking  Reilly  for  a  ride  in  the  new  shiny-brown 
Toyota  Celica. 

"It  was  hidden  down  the  street  so  Lee's  mom — 'Dr. 
Sue' — wouldn't  know  about  it,"  Reilly  said.  "And  he  told 
his  little  brother  who's  eight  to  keep  quiet  about  it." 

Reilly  had  his  doubts  about  where  the  car  had  come 
from.  As  far  as  he  knew,  Lee  didn't  have  any  girlfriends, 
much  less  one  who  would  let  him  drive  her  brand-new  car. 
But  he  went  along.  They  drove  to  a  drugstore  to  buy  candy, 
and  then  cruised  aimlessly  around  the  southwest  section  of 
Seattle  for  about  an  hour. 

"We  were  headed  back  toward  Lee's  house  when  the 
car  ran  out  of  gas.  He  told  me  we  were  going  to  have  to 
walk  home.  I  saw  him  throw  the  car  key  into  some  brush. 
When  I  asked  him  why  and  told  him  'That  dude's  gonna 
get  you  for  throwing  his  key  away,'  he  wasn't  worried 
at  all. 

"He  just  said,  'No.  Sh—he  won't.' " 

They  were  miles  from  Lee's  house,  and  it  took  them 
several  hours  to  walk  home.  They  spent  the  rest  of  the  day 
watching  TV,  and  Lee  DuBois  never  mentioned  just  how 
he'd  gotten  the  car. 

"What  was  his  mood?"  the  LAPD  detective  asked. 
"Did  he  act  different  than  he  usually  does?" 

"Naw.  He  was  just  his  usual  self." 

"Did  he  have  any  scratches  on  him?" 

"I  didn't  see  any." 

331 


ANN  RULE 

The  next  day — August  9 — Reilly  Jones  hadn't  seen  his 
cousin  at  all. 

"He  was  gone  at  eleven  that  morning  when  I  woke  up.  I 
haven't  seen  Lee  since  we  went  to  bed  on  the  eighth.  We 
were  tired  from  walking  miles  after  the  car  ran  out  of  gas." 

Was  it  possible  that  DuBois  had  seen  Penny  DeLeo  in 
the  park  before,  knew  she  ran  every  morning  before  8:00, 
and  had  coveted  her  new  car?  Even  if  that  was  the  only 
motive,  it  didn't  explain  why  he  had  attacked  women  the 
day  before  and  the  day  after  her  murder. 

Although  the  category  wasn't  yet  known  in  1978,  in 
retrospect  it's  clear  that  Lee  DuBois  had  all  the  traits  of  a 
"spree  killer."  "Serial  killers"  weren't  categorized  at  the 
time,  either.  Until  the  early  eighties,  every  killer  with  mul- 
tiple victims  was  considered  a  "mass  murderer." 

Spree  killers  erupt  suddenly,  striking  day  after  day  after 
day — ^until  they  are  caught.  Often  they  take  suicidal 
chances.  Lee  DuBois  was  captured  three  days  after  he 
began  raping  and  killing,  and  it  was  extremely  fortunate 
that  he  was.  He  might  have  run  up  a  toll  even  more  devas- 
tating than  he  already  had. 


Lee  DuBois  went  to  trial  twice.  His  first  trial,  in  February 
1979,  answered  some  of  the  questions  about  why  and  how 
a  fifteen-year-old  boy  could  have  grown  up  to  be  a  spree 
killer. 

As  his  jury  listened,  transfixed  by  the  perversity  and 
cruelty  of  Lee's  crimes,  the  testimony  detailed  his  horren- 
dous early  years.  He  hadn't  had  the  safe  and  secure  child- 
hood that  most  people  assumed  he  had.  His  mother's  first 

332 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

marriage — to  his  natural  father — had  been  marred  and 
then  destroyed  by  the  "outrageous  outbursts"  of  Lee's  fa- 
ther. 

The  crux  of  DuBois's  defense  plan  was  that  he  was 
mentally  ill  and  unable  to  differentiate  between  right  and 
wrong  at  the  time  of  his  crimes.  Under  Washington  State 
law,  this  means  "unable  to  perceive  the  nature  and  quality 
of  the  act." 

The  prosecution  did  not  deny  that  the  defendant  was 
clinically  mentally  ill,  but  the  State  contended  that  he  was 
legally  aware  of  what  he  was  doing  as  he  stabbed  Penny 
DeLeo  thirty-one  times  and  assaulted  the  other  two  jog- 
gers. 

Now,  his  mother  dabbed  at  tears  as  she  painfully  re- 
called her  first  marriage.  She  testified  that  her  former  hus- 
band's outbursts  usually  began  as  he  sat  in  silence  at  the 
foot  of  his  bed.  Predictably  he  would  get  up  and  begin  to 
beat  his  head  against  the  wall. 

When  this  happened,  Lee,  who  was  only  a  toddler, 
screamed  in  terror.  At  one  point,  when  he  was  eighteen 
months  old,  his  father  had  pulled  a  gun  on  his  mother. 

"I  grabbed  the  barrel  of  the  gun  and  was  shot  through 
the  hand,"  she  recalled.  "Then  I  shot  my  husband.  I  don't 
remember  how  many  times." 

Their  one-and-a-half-year-old  child  was  showered  with 
his  parents'  blood,  still  warm  as  it  saturated  his  clothing. 
Although  his  mother  had  carried  him  from  the  bedroom, 
he  continued  to  scream  so  fi-antically  that  she  could  not 
calm  him  down.  It  was  a  major  emotional  trauma  for  the 
child. 

The  couple  had  been  treated  in  the  trauma  unit  of 


ANN  RULE 

Harborview  Medical  Center,  and  they  both  survived.  No 
charges  were  brought,  but  their  union  was  shaky  from 
then  on.  They  eventually  divorced  after  a  five-year  mar- 
riage. 

"When  my  husband  got  that  way,"  Dr.  Sue  DuBois  tes- 
tified, "I'd  reach  for  a  pitcher  of  ice  water  I  kept  in  the 
refrigerator.  Throwing  it  on  him  was  the  only  way  to  get 
him  to  come  to  his  senses." 

She  made  no  attempt  to  diagnose  what  was  wrong  with 
him,  but  it's  likely  that  he  was  bipolar,  with  a  tendency  to 
be  depressed  more  of  the  time  than  ebullient.  His  violent 
rages  could  not  be  controlled  without  his  getting  a  face 
fiill  of  water  and  ice  cubes. 

It  is  quite  possible  that  Lee  had  some  genetic  input 
fi*om  his  father's  mental  health  issues,  but  it  was  difficult 
to  say  whether  nature  or  nurture  had  turned  him  into  what 
he  had  become. 

Dr.  DuBois  told  the  court  that  she  herself  usually 
jogged  in  Seward  Park  each  morning. 

"What  do  you  think  would  have  happened  if  you  had 
gone  to  Seward  Park  the  morning  of  the  eighth  of  August?" 
defense  attorney  Aaron  asked. 

"It's  very  scary  to  me,"  Lee's  mother  replied.  "Based  on 
his  unusual  behavior — he  stares  at  me  blankly  and  sits  on 
his  bed  the  way  his  father  did  sometimes — and  because 
I'm  a  jogger,  it  could  mean,  I  guess,  it  could  have  been 
me." 

For  the  lay  members  of  the  jury,  the  possible  psycho- 
logical aberrations  were  getting  very  heavy  indeed.  An 
Oedipal  attachment,  perhaps?  A  teenager  who  felt  both 
dependent  on  and  resentftil  of  his  mother? 

334 


RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

The  psychiatrists  called  to  testify  all  had  opinions 
about  what  was  wrong  with  Lee  DuBois.  Those  testifying 
for  the  Defense  said  that  he  was  a  paranoid  schizophrenic 
who  heard  voices  and  believed  himself  to  be  possessed  by 
evil  spirits.  Those  speaking  for  the  prosecution  deemed 
him  sane  under  the  M'Naughton  Rule  and  fully  responsible 
for  the  consequences  of  his  actions. 

After  twelve  hours  of  deliberation,  the  jury  signaled 
that  they  were  hopelessly  deadlocked  on  the  question  of 
legal  sanity  as  it  might  apply  to  the  defendant.  A  mistrial 
was  declared.  Ten  jurors  had  voted  for  conviction,  with 
two  holding  out  for  acquittal  by  reason  of  insanity. 

They  were  dismissed,  and  plans  for  a  new  trial  began. 

In  late  April  1979  DuBois  went  on  trial  again  for  the 
same  charges.  The  second  trial,  like  the  first,  was  lengthy 
and  involved.  It  lasted  for  two  and  a  half  weeks.  But  the 
outcome  was  different  this  time.  On  the  third  of  May,  the 
jury  deliberated  only  five  hours  before  returning  a  guilty 
verdict. 

Lee  Wayne  DuBois  faced  a  life  sentence. 


Justice  for  Penny  DeLeo,  Tricia  Long,  and  Janet  Carroll 
was  dealt  with  under  our  criminal  justice  system.  But 
never  for  Joyce  Gaunt. 

Joyce  Francine  Gaunt  never  had  much  of  a  chance  in 
life.  She  was  mentally  challenged  from  birth  owing  to 
fetal  alcohol  syndrome.  Her  mother  had  ingested  far  too 
much  alcohol  during  her  pregnancy,  damaging  Joyce  be- 
fore she  was  bom. 

Joyce's   murder  has   never  had   closure.   Detectives 

335 


ANN  RULE 

worked  hard  on  her  homicide,  but  there  were  still  a  num- 
ber of  questions  that  demanded  answers — especially  in 
light  of  the  August  crimes  in  Seward  Park.  And,  indeed,  of 
other  homicides  that  came  years  later. 

Joyce  spent  her  short  life  being  shuttled  from  one  foster 
home  to  another.  Her  last  was  in  a  group  home  on  Capitol 
Hill  in  Seattle's  central  district.  She  attended  Pacific 
School,  an  institution  for  special  needs  children.  It  was 
hoped  that  she  might  one  day  be  able  to  live  on  her  own, 
and  even  hold  a  job.  She  was  able  to  take  buses  by  herself, 
to  perform  simple  chores,  but  her  lack  of  reasoning  power 
hindered  her.  She  was  often  stubborn,  confused,  and  un- 
happy over  her  mental  limitations.  On  occasion,  she  ran 
away  from  the  group  home,  resentfiil  of  the  discipline  and 
restrictions  there. 

On  February  16,  1978,  she  was  seen  waiting  for  her 
regular  bus  at  4:30  p.m.  as  dusk  settled  over  Seattle.  She 
should  have  been  home  by  five  or  a  little  after.  Her  house- 
parents  became  anxious  as  the  hours  passed  and  she  didn't 
arrive  at  the  group  home.  A  few  minutes  past  midnight, 
their  phone  trilled  and  they  leapt  to  answer  it.  It  was  Joyce, 
and  she  talked  to  the  housefather.  She  would  not  say 
where  she  was,  but  she  didn't  sound  as  if  she  were  in 
trouble.  If  she  was  in  danger,  she  didn't  realize  it. 

Her  houseparents  urged  her  to  come  home,  and  she 
quickly  hung  up.  Or  perhaps  someone  with  her  hung  up 
the  phone. 

Nine  hours  later,  Joyce  Gaunt 's  pathetic  body  was  dis- 
covered in  Seward  Park — close  to  the  bathhouse  and  only 
a  short  distance  from  where  Penny  DeLeo  would  be  found 
six  months  later. 

336 


'  RUN  AS  FAST  AS  YOU  CAN 

Joyce,  too,  was  nude,  and  lying  on  her  face.  Someone 
had  crushed  her  skull  with  a  heavy  object,  and  she  had 
been  strangled. 

From  that  day  to  this,  no  one  knows  where  Joyce  Gaunt 
spent  the  night  of  February  16  or  how  she  reached  Seward 
Park,  many  miles  south  of  the  group  home  where  she 
lived.  She  would  have  been  as  trusting  and  naive  as  a 
child  of  eight  or  ten,  yet  she  looked  like  a  fully  developed 
woman. 

Seattle  detectives  have  wondered  if  there  is  any  connec- 
tion between  the  death  of  Joyce  Gaunt  and  Lee  DuBois's 
spate  of  violence  six  months  later.  The  crime  scene  is  the 
same,  the  MO  is  very  similar,  but  DuBois  declined  to  dis- 
cuss this  earlier  killing.  And  so  the  case  of  Joyce  Gaunt 
remains  open.  It's  even  possible  that  she  was  an  early  vic- 
tim of  the  Green  River  Killer — Gary  Ridgway — who  also 
left  victims  in  Seward  Park  as  he  prowled  King  County  in 
the  eighties,  leaving  at  least  fifty  young  women  dead. 

Each  of  these  teenagers — Lee  and  Joyce — met  a  tragic 
end.  DuBois,  whose  background  was  fUll  of  promise,  who 
came  from  brilliant  parents,  and  who  lived  in  an  appar- 
ently happy  home  where  finances  were  never  a  problem, 
served  years  in  prison. 

Joyce  Gaunt,  whose  life  was  blighted  even  before  birth, 
had  no  life  ahead  of  her  at  aM.  Perhaps  each  of  them  was 
so  scarred  by  early  influences  that  there  could  be  no  other 
fate  for  them  than  what  they  drew. 

Penny  DeLeo's  fate  is  harder  to  contemplate.  The  little 
boy  she  left  a  note  for  is  close  to  forty  now.  Nothing  can 
ever  make  up  for  the  loss  of  his  mother  during  his  forma- 
tive years. 

337 


ANN  RULE 

Several  of  the  detectives  who  worked  on  DuBois's 
case(s)  have  passed  away,  and  all  the  rest  have  retired. 

Dr.  Susan  DuBois  remained  married  to  Lee's  stepfather 
until  the  elder  DuBois  passed  away  in  2007. 

As  far  as  I  can  determine,  Lee  DuBois  has  been  out  of 
prison  for  years.  He  is  listed  in  local  phonebooks.  There  is 
no  public  record  of  his  re-offending. 


338 


THE  DEADLY 
VOYEUR 


Except  for  the  fact  that  it  is  often  torn  by  violent 
winds  and  thunderstorms,  Enumclaw,  Washington,  has  al- 
ways been  considered  one  of  the  safest  towns  in  the  state. 
Set  in  the  far  southeast  reaches  of  King  County,  it's  a 
small  town  in  the  very  nicest,  homiest  sense.  It  snows 
more  there,  and  summer  gardens  freeze  over  sooner  there 
than  in  the  rest  of  the  county,  because  its  elevation  is 
higher.  Only  6,000  people  lived  in  Enumclaw  in  the  mid- 
seventies;  some  commuted  thirty-five  miles  to  Seattle  or 
to  Tacoma.  More  were  farmers  or  worked  in  the  busi- 
nesses that  serviced  the  town  itself.  Enumclaw  wasn't 
known  for  anything  but  the  county  fair  and  a  bakery  with 
the  best  homemade  bread  in  the  state. 

In  short,  it  has  always  been  the  kind  of  town  where  a 
city  dweller  will  go  for  a  Sunday  drive  and  inevitably 
begin  to  think  about  selling  his  split-level  house  in  Seat- 
tle's spreading  megalopolis,  to  opt  instead  for  the  quieter 
life  of  Enumclaw. 

Only  a  generation  or  two  ago,  it  was  the  sort  of  town 
where  you  could  send  your  kids  down  the  road  to  the  store 
and  never  have  to  worry  about  it. 

341 


ANN  RULE 

That  was  back  in  the  day. 

But  then  in  the  eighties  and  nineties,  the  elusive  Green 
River  serial  killer  left  the  bodies  of  some  of  his  hapless 
teenage  victims  near  Enumclaw.  It  was  a  tempting  place  to 
hide  his  forbidden  carnage  because  the  town  sits  sur- 
rounded by  designated  wilderness  areas,  dams,  and  rivers, 
all  in  the  massive  shadow  of  Mount  Rainier. 

But  long  before  Gary  Leon  Ridgway  began  killing  his 
estimated  four  to  five  dozen  victims,  there  was  another 
killer  who  tracked  the  innocent  near  Enumclaw.  He  was  so 
angry  and  frustrated  that  he  didn't  care  who  he  attacked, 
who  died,  or  who  would  live  with  jagged  scars  on  their 
memories  forever. 


The  Enumclaw  killer  woke  about  9:30  on  the  morning  of 
Friday,  March  22,  1974.  He'd  decided  that  he  wasn't  going 
to  work  that  day  at  the  lumber  mill.  His  wife  and  their  two 
little  girls  were  already  up  and  eating  breakfast  in  the 
kitchen,  but  he  didn't  feel  like  talking  to  them.  His  plans 
were  none  of  his  wife's  business. 

He  took  a  bath  and  then  dressed  in  a  print  shirt  and  a 
pair  of  jeans. 

He  felt  edgy,  so  he  gulped  down  three  tranquilizers  and 
waved  his  wife  away  when  she  asked  him  how  many  eggs 
he  wanted.  Gradually,  he  felt  the  pills  begin  to  do  their 
magic,  although  they  didn't  work  as  well  as  they  once  had. 

Less  than  half  an  hour  after  he'd  awakened,  he  was 
headed  away  from  his  wife  and  babies  in  his  1974  Pinto 
station  wagon.  Maybe  he  knew  what  he  was  looking  for  all 
along.  Maybe  he  didn't  consciously  think  about  it. 

342 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 


He  hated  the  Pinto  already.  He'd  been  proud  of  having  a 
new  car,  but  then  he'd  read  that  Ford  Pintos  were  flawed 
and  sometimes  broke  into  towering  flames  if  they  were 
even  so  much  as  tapped  from  behind.  He  feh  like  he'd 
been  taken,  and  now  he  was  saddled  with  three  years  of 
payments  for  a  piece  of  junk. 

He  drove  the  new  station  wagon  carelessly  down  State 
Road  169  to  the  neighboring  small  town  of  Black  Dia- 
mond. He  was  looking  for  a  tavern,  but  it  was  early,  too 
early  for  most  of  them  to  be  open.  Finally,  around  eleven, 
he  found  a  beer  joint  open  for  business  in  Black  Diamond. 

He  drank  a  lot  of  beer.  Later  he'd  say  "a  dozen — maybe 
a  half  dozen."  He  played  a  couple  of  games  of  pool.  He 
left  at  half-past  noon  or  shortly  after  and  went  looking  for 
more  beer.  He  found  a  supermarket  and  bought  three 
twelve-ounce  bottles,  figuring  he  was  saving  money  rather 
than  buying  it  at  the  tavern. 

It  wasn't  working  anyway. 

Neither  the  beer  nor  the  pills  made  him  feel  any  better. 
As  he  drove,  he  began  to  think  about  all  the  things  that 
were  wrong  in  his  life.  Nobody  ever  cut  him  a  break.  He 
had  bills — lots  of  bills — and  that  bugged  him. 

He  regretted  now  that  he'd  yanked  his  two  tiny  daugh- 
ters' arms.  And  he'd  spanked  them  too  hard.  In  spite  of 
that,  they  still  loved  him  and  were  happy  to  see  him  come 
home.  That  ate  at  his  conscience. 

He  sipped  the  beers  and  drove  and  thought  about  all  the 
bad  things  he'd  done;  he  counted  all  the  people  who'd  been 
on  his  back — at  least  it  seemed  like  somebody  was  always 
riding  him  for  something. 

The  green  Pinto  prowled  the  streets  of  Enumclaw  as 

343 


ANN  RULE 

the  afternoon  passed.  He  wasn't  going  anywhere.  He 
could  have  taken  any  road  out  of  town  and  it  wouldn't 
have  mattered.  His  black  thoughts  kept"  him  fi-om  seeing 
and  appreciating  the  signs  of  spring  in  yards  and  green 
stretches  along  the  highway:  daffodils,  bright  orange-red 
quince  sprouting  on  stalks  that  had  seemed  dead  a  few 
weeks  earlier,  pussy  willows.  Even  the  skunk  cabbage 
that  bloomed  velvety  yellow  in  the  bogs  beside  the  road 
were  pretty  from  a  distance.  Up  close  its  cloying  smell 
was  overpowering,  and  anyone  who  picked  it  found  that 
out  in  a  hurry. 

For  this  man,  even  spring  was  a  miserable  season.  He 
might  have  decided  to  go  home,  but  he  kept  driving.  With- 
out willing  it,  he  wound  up  on  the  Enumclaw-Buckley 
highway.  State  Road  410  would  eventually  take  him  to 
Crystal  Mountain,  where  there  was  a  popular  ski  area,  and 
mounds  of  snow  still  covered  the  ground. 


The  teenage  girl  and  the  boy  walking  along  Highway  410 
in  Enumclaw  were  enjoying  the  first  faint  aura  of  spring  in 
the  air.  And  that's  about  all  it  was,  too.  It  was  still  cold, 
freezing  at  night.  Although  the  day  before  had  officially 
brought  the  season  into  being,  the  trees  in  the  wilderness 
woods  were  as  leafless  and  dry  as  they'd  been  in  Novem- 
ber. But  it  wasn't  raining,  and  it  wasn't  freezing  in  the 
daytime. 

And  it  was  Friday  afternoon,  the  best  time  in  the  week 
for  high  school  students.  The  store  they  were  headed  for 
was  a  half,  mile  or  so  down  the  road,  and  they  neither 
wanted  nor  sought  a  ride. 

344 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

Camilla  Hutcheson*  was  sixteen,  auburn-haired  and 
pretty.  Keith  Person  was  only  fifteen,  but  he  was  already 
five  feet,  ten  inches  tall,  while  carrying  140  pounds  on  his 
lanky  fi-ame.  He  was  still  as  slim  as  an  arrow,  but  there 
was  promise  there  of  the  man  to  come. 

The  high  school  sophomores  enjoyed  each  other's  com- 
pany, although  they  weren't  a  particularly  romantic  duo. 
They'd  known  each  other  since  grade  school,  and  they  still 
liked  each  other.  Sometimes,  one  or  the  other  of  them 
would  entertain  thoughts  of  moving  their  relationship 
ahead,  but  they  each  figured  if  that  was  meant  to  happen,  it 
would — all  in  good  time. 

Keith  was  born  in  Seattle,  but  he'd  lived  his  whole  life 
in  Enumclaw.  He  was  popular  with  his  fellow  students  and 
president  of  the  school's  ski  club.  His  dad  ran  a  local  real 
estate  firm.  Camilla's  father  worked  as  an  aircraft  me- 
chanic for  the  Boeing  Company.  They  were  typical  Enum- 
claw teenagers,  they'd  gone  to  school  there  since  they 
were  kindergartners  and  attended  church  there,  and  their 
idea  of  high  excitement  was  attending  a  pep  rally  before  a 
football  or  basketball  game,  or  going  to  the  county  fair  in 
Enumclaw,  or  the  Western  Washington  Fair  in  Puyallup. 

Instead,  these  two  attractive  teens  were  about  to  walk, 
all  unawares,  straight  into  hell.  There  was  no  one  around 
to  warn  them,  and  they  weren't  prepared  to  defend  them- 
selves. 


The  man  in  the  green  Pinto  cruised  along  410,  spotted 
them,  and  executed  a  U-turn  in  the  middle  of  the  road  so 
he  could  head  back  toward  them. 

345 


ANN  RULE 

He  had  been  driving  without  purpose,  but  now  he  had  a 
plan. 

It  was  2: 14  on  that  Friday  afternoon  when  the  communi- 
cations center  of  the  King  County  Sheriff's  Office  received 
a  report  from  Harry  A.  De  Lashmutt,  a  forest  ranger  as- 
signed to  the  Mount  Rainier  National  Park  Service.  The 
initial  report  mentioned  only  that  there  had  been  a  shooting, 
something  not  at  all  uncommon  in  the  wooded  foothills.  It 
could  have  been  a  poacher,  someone  target  shooting  who'd 
missed,  or  even  the  result  of  a  fight. 

The  location  given  was  noted  as  being  three-fourths  of 
a  mile  east  of  the  Mud  Mountain  Dam  Road  on  Highway 
410. 

Homicide  and  robbery  detective  Sergeant  Len  Randall 
was  notified  by  radio,  and  he  directed  detectives  Ted 
Forrester  and  Bruce  Morrison  to  proceed  to  the  scene.  De- 
tective Rolf  Grunden  headed  for  the  hospital  in  Enumclaw 
to  interview  a  victim  who  was  reportedly  under  treatment 
there.  After  he'd  alerted  Special  Operations  that  the  team 
from  the  sheriff's  office  would  probably  need  auxiliary 
lighting  at  the  scene — whatever  it  turned  out  to  be — 
Randall  himself  drove  to  Enumclaw. 

Homicide  detectives  live  their  working  lives  on  the 
edge  of  a  powder  keg.  Days,  even  weeks,  may  go  by  when 
nothing  happens,  and  there  are  also  times  when  murders 
are  almost  predictable. 

No  murder  can  be  called  routine — but  a  drunken  hus- 
band shooting  a  drunken  wife,  or  vice  versa,  is  what  might 
be  considered  a  predictable  killing.  A  mentally  ill  person 
with  paranoid  delusions,  untreated,  often  becomes  a  pre- 
dictable killer.  Holiday  gatherings,  old  resentments,  and 

346 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

too  much  liquor  usually  collaborate  to  keep  detectives 
away  from  their  own  family  celebrations. 

Although  those  who  care  about  both  the  killers  and  the 
potential  victims  have  worried  about  what  might  happen 
and  even  asked  police  to  step  in,  the  truth  is  that  law  en- 
forcement's hands  are  tied.  Police  cannot  arrest  someone 
for  something  they  might  do  without  invading  the  rights  of 
a  suspect-to-be;  they  can  only  pick  up  the  pieces  after  it's 
too  late. 

Yet  there  are  occasionally  crimes  so  atypical,  so  sense- 
less, and  so  heartbreaking,  that  even  the  most  outwardly 
tough  detective  has  trouble  controlling  his  emotions.  Per- 
haps that's  why  a  homicide  unit  is  any  police  department's 
"Ulcerville." 

There  would  be  witnesses  waiting  at  the  hospital  to  talk 
to  Randall  and  Grunden,  witnesses  who,  for  once,  had  not 
been  afraid  to  become  involved. 

One  was  the  Reverend  Thomas  J.  Tweedie  of  Gig  Har- 
bor's United  Presbyterian  Church.  He  and  a  friend,  Robert 
McCleod,  had  been  driving  along  Scatter  Creek  Road  to- 
ward the  Crystal  Mountain  ski  area  at  about  1 : 30  on  March 
22.  As  they  headed  up  toward  the  mountains,  the  air  grew 
chill. 

Suddenly,  as  if  she  were  indeed  an  apparition,  the  two 
men  were  startled  to  see  a  young  girl  run  out  onto  the  road 
from  some  bushes  to  their  left.  She  was  completely  naked, 
and  a  thick  scarlet  rivulet  of  blood  ran  down  one  of  her  legs. 

The  girl  was  crying  hysterically  and  waving  her  arms. 

As  they  drew  beside  her,  Reverend  Tweedie  and  Bob 
McCleod  stopped  their  car.  The  terrified  girl  immediately 
leapt  into  the  backseat. 

347 


ANN  RULE 

Fighting  to  be  understood  through  her  shuddering  sobs, 
she  tried  to  explain  what  had  happened.  ' 

"A  crazy  man  was  chasing  me,  and  he  has  a  gun.  He 
made  me  take  all  my  clothes  off,"  she  blurted,  keeping  her 
head  below  their  car's  windows.  "He's  still  around  here. 
We  have  to  be  careful!" 

"Don't  worr>'  about  that,"  Reverend  Tweedie  said,  while 
he  handed  the  girl  his  jacket  to  cover  herself. 

"No,  no,"  she  said  urgently.  "You  don't  understand.  We 
have  to  get  help  for  my  friend.  Please!" 

Even  in  her  deep  shock  and  terror,  it  was  not  her  own 
safety  the  auburn-haired  girl  was  thinking  of.  They  won- 
dered if  there  was  another  girl  back  in  the  deep  woods. 

She  was  impatient  with  them,  but  they  put  that  down  to 
whatever  emotional  trauma  she  had  suffered. 

"It's  not  a  girlfriend,"  she  cried.  "It's  my  boyfriend, 
Keith — ^he's  still  in  there.  He's  still  in  the  woods  with  a 
madman.  He's  beating  Keith  with  a  shovel!" 

As  Reverend  Tweedie  pulled  across  the  bridge,  pre- 
pared to  try  to  rescue  the  girl's  boyfriend,  he  heard  the 
cracking  sound  of  a  pistol  shot. 

Then  there  was  only  silence. 

The  sobbing  girl  was  covered  with  a  shirt  and  jacket 
now,  but  she  trembled  violently.  Her  benefactors  didn't 
know  what  to  do.  Should  they  go  into  the  dark  copse  of 
trees  to  save  the  boy?  Or  was  it  too  late?  They  didn't  know 
how  badly  the  girl  was  injured.  She  obviously  needed  to 
get  to  a  hospital  at  once,  yet  there  still  might  be  a  chance 
to  save  her  friend,  as  she  kept  begging  them  to  do. 

But  they  weren't  armed — ministers  seldom  are — and 
they  knew  the  maniac  in  the  woods  ahead  was.  It  would  be 

348 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

foolhardy  to  walk  into  a  hail  of  gunfire;  they  were  all 
likely  to  be  killed. 

They  decided  to  flag  down  the  first  car  that  came  by. 
Fortunately,  it  was  Ranger  De  Lashmutt  driving  the  next 
vehicle.  He  stopped  as  he  saw  the  two  men  in  a  red  Volks- 
wagen frantically  signaling  him. 

"We're  not  sure  what  happened,"  Reverend  Tweedie 
said.  "We  came  across  an  injured  girl — she's  in  our  car 
over  there.  She  says  her  boyfriend  is  out  there  in  the 
woods,  and  that  a  'madman'  is  beating  him.  I  guess  he 
held  both  of  them  at  gunpoint.  Then  we  heard  a  shot — " 

"Has  the  girl  been  shot?"  De  Lashmutt  asked. 

"I'm  not  sure.  She's  bleeding  from  a  wound  on  her  leg. 
She  surely  needs  an  ambulance." 

The  ranger  had  a  shortwave  radio  in  his  car,  but  the 
area  was  so  isolated  and  blocked  by  mountains  that  he 
could  not  get  a  message  out  to  ask  for  deputies  and  an  am- 
bulance. The  signal  was  swallowed  up  repeatedly  by  the 
mammoth  rock  walls  and  cliffs. 

While  the  ranger  was  trying  different  bands  on  his  ra- 
dio's reception,  they  heard  one  more  shot  from  the  woods. 
And  then  there  was  a  terrible  silence  broken  only  by  the 
girl's  soft  crying  as  she  sank  deeper  into  clinical  shock.  De 
Lashmutt  grabbed  his  first  aid  kit  and  tried  to  stem  the 
flow  of  blood  fi-om  the  wound  in  her  thigh. 

They  knew  they  could  drive  the  wounded  girl  out,  but 
that  would  leave  the  boy  at  the  mercy  of  the  stranger  in  the 
woods.  They  breathed  a  sigh  of  relief  when  the  next  rig  to 
approach  the  chaotic  scene  was  driven  by  a  husky  truck 
driver. 

"I've  got  a  citizens'  band  radio  setup  in  my  truck,"  he 

349 


ANN  RULE 

said  after  they'd  explained  what  was  going  on.  "Let  me 
give  it  a  try." 

But  he  couldn't  raise  anyone,  either. 

Tweedie  and  De  Lashmutt  sent  the  truck  driver  out  to 
Highway  410,  where  he  was  more  likely  to  make  radio 
contact  with  sheriff's  deputies. 

As  the  churchmen  and  the  ranger  waited,  a  lime  green 
station  wagon  pulled  out  of  the  woods.  The  driver  was 
headed  straight  for  them,  and  they  could  see  he  was  a 
heavy-set  white  male  who  appeared  to  be  in  his  mid- 
twenties. 

He  drove  toward  them,  gaining  speed. 

"That's  him!"  the  girl  shouted.  "That's  him!" 

Thinking  quickly,  and  with  considerable  courage.  Rev- 
erend Tweedie  pulled  his  car  across  the  road,  almost  com- 
pletely blocking  it.  The  trucker  followed  his  lead  and 
pulled  his  rig  next  to  Tweedie 's,  closing  the  rest  of  the  gap. 

There  was  no  way  the  Pinto  station  wagon  was  going  to 
exit  Scatter  Creek  Road— rshort  of  plowing  into  the  VW 
Beetle  and  the  truck.  It  skidded  to  a  stop. 

Tweedie  and  De  Lashmutt  grabbed  the  man.  For  some 
reason,  his  clothing  was  soaking  wet — both  his  blue  jeans 
and  a  brightly  patterned  shirt.  The  helpful  trucker  saw  the 
pistol  protruding  from  the  man's  right  rear  pocket.  He 
grabbed  it  and  placed  it  on  the  roof  of  the  ranger's  car. 
Next,  he  checked  the  rest  of  the  stranger's  pockets,  but  he 
didn't  find  any  more  weapons. 

With  his  arms  pinioned  by  a  minister  and  a  forest 
ranger,  the  man  who'd  driven  the  Pinto  was  swearing  vio- 
lently. They  smelled  alcohol  on  his  breath;  it  was  almost 
oozing  out  of  his  pores.  He  was  behaving  weirdly,  and  he 

350 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

seemed  to  be  out  of  touch  with  reality.  But  his  manner  was 
not  the  main  concern  of  the  group  in  the  woods.  It  was  the 
boy  they  cared  about. 

Was  he  alive  or  dead? 

Bob  McCleod  and  the  trucker  grabbed  the  first  aid  kit 
and  headed  into  the  desolate  area  as  far  as  they  could  in 
the  truck  driver's  rig.  They  had  to  park  and  set  out  on  foot 
when  they  came  to  a  turnaround  on  the  forest  road.  First 
they  went  down  the  Scatter  Creek  bypass  road. 

They  found  nothing,  and  they  heard  nothing  but  poplar 
leaves  quivering  in  a  faint  wind  and  the  cry  of  birds. 

Next,  they  headed  in  a  northward  path  from  the  turn- 
around area.  When  they  got  to  Scatter  Creek  itself,  they 
saw  the  teenager.  He  lay  facedown  just  above  the  creek  it- 
self And  he  too  was  nude.  He  was  bleeding  fi-om  several 
areas  on  his  body,  and  most  of  his  skin  was  either  scratched 
or  bruised. 

The  two  men  climbed  over  to  him,  praying  that  some- 
how he  would  not  be  dead  at  all  but  only  unconscious. 

It  was  a  forlorn  hope.  They  touched  his  carotid  artery 
under  his  ear,  his  wrists,  and  even  his  feet  for  a  reassuring 
pulse. 

But  there  was  none.  Keith  Person  was  dead. 

Gulping  down  the  impulse  to  cry,  they  looked  around  the 
creek-side  area.  They  spotted  two  piles  of  clothing — 
one  obviously  belonging  to  a  teenage  girl,  and  the  other  to 
the  dead  boy,  who  had  probably  given  his  life  to  save  hers. 

None  of  it  made  any  sense  to  these  laymen,  nor  would  it 
compute  for  the  sheriff's  detective  either.  The  captured  man, 
who  smelled  like  a  brewery  and  struggled  with  the  men 
holding  him,  swearing  obscenely,  had  to  be  at  least  a  decade 

351 


ANN  RULE 

older  than  the  victims.  A  love  triangle  didn't  seem  likely. 
They  would  have  to  wait  until  the  injured  teenager  felt 
well  enough  to  talk  about  what  had  happened  next  to  Scat- 
ter Creek.  She  was  the  only  living  witness. 


While  the  burly  suspect  was  being  held  for  the  arrival  of 
the  King  County  deputies,  Reverend  Tweedie  and  his 
friend  Bob  McCleod  headed  into  Enumclaw  with  the 
injured  girl.  Enumclaw  Sergeant  L.  E.  Robinson  met  them 
and  led  them  to  the  hospital. 

Camilla  Hutcheson  had  suffered  extensive  scratches  all 
over  her  body  as  she  made  her  desperate  bid  for  freedom 
in  the  woods.  At  the  hospital's  ER,  physicians  verified  that 
she  was  suffering  from  severe  shock. 

"She's  been  shot,  too,"  the  doctor  on  duty  said. 

"She  was?"  Tweedie  asked  anxiously.  "We  didn't  know." 

"She  has  a  wound  in  her  left  thigh  that  was  caused  by  a 
small-caliber  bullet,"  the  attending  doctor  said  to  the  min- 
ister and  the  deputies.  "It's  a  through-and-through  wound. 
She  was  extremely  lucky.  If  the  bullet  had  hit  a  bone  in- 
stead of  flesh,  she  might  have  been  crippled  and  unable  to 
escape.  I  believe  this  will  prove  to  be  a  .22-  or  .25-caliber 
bullet.  They  tend  to  tumble  over  and  over — bounce  around 
inside — if  they  strike  a  bone,  and  they  can  destroy  vital 
organs.  It's  much  better  for  the  patient  to  have  a  small  bul- 
let pass  through  only  soft  tissue." 

Camilla  would  be  held  overnight  in  the  hospital.  But 
there  was  nothing  that  could  be  done  to  help  fifteen-year- 
old  Keith  Person,  who  lay  in  the  woods.  The  EMTs  hadn't 
yet  arrived  with  an  ambulance;  in  fact,  they  had  been  told 

352 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

to  turn  back  until  they  got  further  word.  Although  Keith 
was  thought  to  be  dead,  his  age  and  his  reputation  around 
town  made  every  man  connected  to  the  case  surrepti- 
tiously check  for  himself.  The  quick  pressure  of  warm  fin- 
gertips against  cold  flesh.  The  impossible  hope. 

There  had  to  be  a  heartbeat.  Good  kids  like  this  shouldn't 
die. 

In  a  town  the  size  of  Enumclaw,  news  spreads  like  a 
lava  flow.  Already,  the  news  (albeit  a  bit  garbled)  of  what 
had  happened  at  Scatter  Creek  was  circulating  in  town. 

"We  have  to  get  to  the  boy's  parents,"  Enumclaw  police 
sergeant  Robinson  said  quietly.  "They  must  not  find  out  on 
the  street." 

Fortunately,  they  located  Keith's  parents  rapidly,  and 
they  listened  with  horror  and  disbelief  as  police  told  them 
that  he  was  dead. 

Death  notification,  especially  of  the  young  who  have 
perished  as  the  result  of  criminal  violence,  is  the  hardest 
assignment  any  detective  or  police  officer  ever  has. 

But  someone  had  to  tell  Keith's  parents  that  their  fine, 
healthy,  popular  son  had  been  killed  with  two  gunshots. 

"But  why?"  his  father  asked.  "Why?" 

No  one  really  knew  why  yet.  None  of  it  made  sense. 
But  the  teenager  was  gone  forever,  and  there  was  no  way 
to  bring  him  back.  While  his  parents  grieved,  the  search 
for  answers  had  already  begun. 


Back  at  the  crime  scene,  King  County  deputies  Mark  Fern 
and  Herb  Duncan  had  reached  the  scene  in  the  woods  near 
Scatter  Creek,  followed  shortly  by  patrol  sergeant  Harlan 

353 


ANN  RULE 

Bollinger.  They  saw  the  red-eyed,  disheveied-looking  man 
who  was  still  held  tight  in  the  grip  of  a  forest  ranger  and  a 
citizen  who  looked  as  though  he  should  have  been  in 
church.  Ironically,  he  should  have,  but  Reverend  Tweedie 
was  determined  that  the  stranger  must  not  escape.  Fern 
and  Duncan  handcuffed  the  suspect  and  placed  him  in  the 
backseat  of  their  patrol  car. 

The  deputies  then  attempted  to  further  secure  the  area 
where  Keith  Person's  body  lay  facedown.  It  had  to  be  held 
sacrosanct  until  homicide  detectives  could  begin  their 
inch-by-inch  crime-scene  analysis. 

However,  an  odd  individual  refused  to  move  on,  and 
kept  creeping  closer  to  where  Keith's  corpse  lay.  He  was 
about  to  cause  them  a  good  deal  of  trouble. 

The  man  explained  that  it  was  he  who  had  calmed  the 
suspect  by  putting  him  into  "an  hypnotic  trance."  Fern  and 
Sergeant  Bollinger  exchanged  glances;  the  prisoner  hadn't 
seemed  at  all  "calm"  to  them. 

Now,  the  self-styled  psychic  insisted  on  remaining  at 
the  spot  next  to  Scatter  Creek.  Finally,  with  the  aid  of  state 
trooper  Earl  Gasaway,  the  weird  man  was  secured  in  the 
trooper's  vehicle  until  he  could  give  a  statement. 

As  the  investigators  had  suspected,  the  man's  meander- 
ing explanations  proved  that  he  had  nothing  whatsoever  to 
do  with  the  case;  he  had  merely  been  passing  by  and 
wanted  to  become  involved  in  "the  excitement." 

Deputy  Fern,  too,  had  checked  Keith  Person's  vital 
signs,  hoping  as  they  all  had  that  he  might  still  be  alive. 
Fern  then  took  possession  of  the  gun  retrieved  from  the 
man  in  the.  green  Pinto.  It  was  a  Colt  .25-caliber  semi-au- 
tomatic. The  deputy  marked  his  initials  on  the  butt  of  the 

354 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

gun  with  a  green  felt  pen  and  later  turned  it  over  to  detec- 
tive Rolf  Grunden  to  be  placed  into  evidence.  Fern  also 
found  a  .25-caliber  bullet  in  the  suspect's  pants  pocket. 

With  instructions  from  Sergeant  Len  Randall,  Fern 
transported  the  suspect  to  the  Enumclaw  Police  Depart- 
ment headquarters,  where  he  was  advised  of  his  rights 
under  the  Miranda  Rule.  He  agreed  to  take  a  Breathalyzer 
test  to  determine  the  percentage  of  alcohol  in  his  system. 
The  results  showed  a  concentration  of  only  .02,  nowhere 
near  the  legal  level  of  intoxication. 

The  suspect,  whose  wide,  bland  face  and  rosy  cheeks 
made  him  look  like  anyone  but  a  murderer,  said  his  name 
was  Jerry  Lee  Ross,  and  that  he  was  twenty-six.  He  was 
currently  working  as  a  ripsaw  operator  at  Harris  Pine 
Mills,  a  local  firm.  He  was  five  feet,  eight  inches  tall,  and 
weighed  a  hefty  1 80  pounds. 

Ross  told  detectives  that  he  lived  with  his  wife  and  two 
toddler  daughters  on  Pioneer  Street  in  Enumclaw. 

He  seemed  proud  of  his  service  as  a  U.S.  Marine  and 
said  he'd  received  an  honorable  discharge.  After  that, 
he'd  attended  Green  River  Community  College  in  Au- 
burn, in  the  hope  of  finding  another  career;  lumber  mill 
jobs  were  fine  for  young  men,  but  he  had  seen  the  hard 
physical  work  wear  down  men  who'd  stayed  too  long  at 
the  mill. 


Why  had  Jerry  Ross  shot  two  high  school  kids?  That  was 
the  question  in  everyone's  mind.  Detective  Rolf  Grunden 
checked  to  see  what  might  be  on  Ross's  rap  sheet — if, 
indeed,  he  had  one.  Jerry  Ross  did,  but  it  was  for  penny 

355 


ANN  RULE 

ante  stuff  and  showed  only  numerous  traffic  arrests,  in- 
cluding a  few  DWIs.  Nothing  that  could  be  considered  a 
violent  crime. 

There  was  not  the  slightest  explanation  for  the  horror 
that  had  erupted  in  the  woods. 

Jerry  Ross  was  asked  to  remove  his  clothing  while  he 
stood  on  a  clean  white  sheet.  Often  minuscule  pieces  of 
evidence  can  be  found  as  they  drop  to  a  sheet.  There  were 
a  few  evergreen  needles,  some  dirt,  but  those  would  only 
tend  to  validate  Scatter  Creek  as  the  site  of  the  murder — 
and  the  investigators  were  already  pretty  sure  of  that. 

Ross  then  dressed  in  clean  coveralls  and  awaited  trans- 
portation to  the  King  County  Jail. 

It  seemed  that  this  one  day  was  at  least  a  week  long.  It 
was  getting  dark,  but  that  was  natural  in  March.  Back  near 
Scatter  Creek,  detectives  Ted  Forrester  and  Bruce  Morri- 
son surveyed  the  crime  scene.  The  dead  youth  still  lay 
facedown,  his  slight  frame  stretched  along  the  ground. 
Someone — maybe  a  deputy — had  thrown  a  blue  shirt 
across  the  youngster's  back  as  if  to  protect  him  from  the 
cold  he  no  longer  felt. 

The  two  piles  of  clothing  told  the  graphic  story  that 
inanimate  objects  often  do:  a  green  plaid  jacket,  a  pair  of 
boy's  shoes  with  socks  tucked  inside,  a  pair  of  jeans  with  a 
watch  in  the  back  pocket,  a  pair  of  boy's  jockey  shorts;  the 
girl's  brown  leather  jacket,  her  blue  jeans  with  bloodstains 
on  the  thigh,  a  blue  sweater,  a  white  bra,  a  pair  of  blue  and 
white  panties,  a  pair  of  small  blue  tennis  shoes,  a  red  cloth  ^ 
purse.  And  a  copy  of  The  Story  Bible. 

"Someone  forced  those  kids  to  undress — and  you  can 
see  they  took  as  long  as  they  could,  delaying  what  was 

356 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

coming,"  Ted  Forrester  said.  "See  how  carefully  every- 
thing is  folded?" 

Forrester  took  pictures  of  the  evidence  and  the  surround- 
ing scene.  There  were  tire  tracks — distinctive  impressions 
left  by  relatively  narrow  new  tires.  After  Forrester  finished, 
Morrison  made  plaster  moulages  that  showed  the  treads, 
tire  size,  and  even  small  marks  that  indicated  where  rocks 
or  stones  had  marked  the  tires.  In  many  ways,  tires  are  like 
teeth  when  used  as  identifying  factors.  Wear  and  tear,  scars, 
distance  measurements,  placement  of  teeth  and  treads. 

Morrison  and  Forrester  found  bullet  casings,  too,  from 
a  small-caliber  weapon.  Ballistics  experts  would  be  able  to 
tell  them  exactly  which  weapon,  more  precisely. 

As  Keith  Person's  body  was  removed  to  be  transported 
to  the  King  County  Medical  Examiner's  Office  in  Seattle, 
an  angry  crowd  gathered  outside  Enumclaw  Police 
Department  headquarters.  Jerry  Ross  sat  inside  the  police 
headquarters  in  a  tightly  secured  room.  He  had  requested 
to  talk  with  a  minister,  and  investigators  had  arranged  for 
one  to  visit  him. 

Still,  the  situation  had  all  the  elements  of  an  ugly  con- 
frontation, one  not  dissimilar  from  old-time  lynchings. 
The  crowd  outside  was  growing  bigger  every  minute,  and 
they  wanted  to  get  their  hands  on  Jerry  Ross.  To  forestall  a 
possible  rush  on  the  building  by  citizens  caught  up  in  the 
mob  mentality.  Lieutenant  Richard  Kraske  and  Sergeant 
Len  Randall  decided  that  the  suspect  must  be  removed  at 
once  through  a  rear  entrance. 

They  managed  to  distract  the  furious  throng  out  in  front 
of  the  police  station,  while  they  rushed  a  disguised  Jerry 
Ross  out  to  Rolf  Grunden's  car.  Grunden  drove  out  of 

357 


ANN  RULE 

town  on  back  streets,  with  a  deputy  following  close  behind 
in  another  vehicle. 

The  Seattle  jail  was  high  atop  a  building,  and  much 
more  secure.  During  the  ride  into  Seattle,  Ross  spoke 
about  his  life  as  a  marine. 

"I  was  a  rifleman  in  Vietnam,"  he  said,  almost  wistfully. 
He  spoke  of  his  years  in  the  Marine  Corps,  the  camarade- 
rie, and  somehow  managed  to  make  even  war  sound  like  a 
good  place  to  make  friends. 

After  fifteen  minutes,  Ross's  voice  trailed  off. 

"I  think  I  would  like  to  think  a  little  bit,"  he  said. 

"Go  head,"  Grunden  said.  "You  probably  do  have  some ; 
thinking  to  do." 


There  was,  of  course,  one  person  other  than  the  suspect ; 
who  knew  exactly  what  had  happened  in  those  bleak  woods 
that  edged  up  to  Scatter  Creek.  And  that  was  sixteen-year- 
old  Camilla  Hutcheson.  Somehow,  she  gained  the  strenjgth  i 
to  give  a  statement  to  detective  Jerry  Harris.  The  investiga- 
tors hated  to  ask  her  to  remember  the  horror  she'd  been 
through,  but  they  also  knew  that  her  memory  might  well 
become  flawed  as  time  passed.  Jerry  Ross  was  a  dangerous 
man,  and  they  wanted  to  be  sure  he  wasn't  out  on  the  street 
within  a  matter  of  months. 

They  felt  he  would  soon  be  stalking  other  vulnerable  , 
victims.  jl 

"Start  by  telling  me  about  your  afternoon,"  Harris  said. 
"Just  tell  me  what  you  remember?" 

"It  was  about  one  p.m.,"  Camilla  began.  "I  was  walking^ 
down  the  highway  with  Keith  Person.  And  I  saw  a  guy 

358 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

drive  by  once  in  a  green  Pinto  and  then  he  drove  by  again. 
[When  we  were]  near  the  Safeway  he  stopped  and  rolled 
down  his  window,  and  asked  if  we  wanted  a  ride.  Keith 
looked  at  me  and  I  said  'No.'  I  asked  Keith  if  he  knew  the 
guy.  He  said  he  thought  he  did." 

She  closed  her  eyes  as  she  recalled  what  had  been  a 
deadly  decision  for  them.  She  and  Keith  had  walked  over 
to  the  car  smiling,  but  as  they  drew  closer,  Keith  touched 
her  arm — firmly  enough  to  let  her  know  he  wanted  her  to 
stop. 

"I  don't  know  him  at  all,"  he  whispered  out  of  the  side 
of  his  mouth.  "Let's  take  off." 

Camilla  said  they'd  half  turned  away  from  the  green 
Pinto,  ready  to  run  toward  the  shopping  section. 

"It  was  too  late,"  she  said  faintly.  "When  we  looked 
back  to  see  if  the  man  was  driving  away,  we  saw  that  he 
was  still  there,  and  he  had  a  little  gun  in  his  hand.  He  was 
aiming  it  right  at  us." 

"You're  going  for  a  ride  with  me,"  the  stranger  ordered 
in  a  menacing  but  authoritative  voice. 

"We  felt  as  if  we  didn't  have  a  choice,"  Camilla 
recalled.  "We  thought  he  was  going  to  shoot  us." 

They  got  into  the  front  seat  of  the  Pinto,  and  the  man 
started  driving  toward  Crystal  Mountain.  He  turned  off  the 
main  road  near  the  Mud  Mountain  Dam,  but  there  was 
another  car  on  the  road  ahead.  Their  captor  had  muttered 
that  it  was  "too  light  out,"  and  he  turned  around. 

Camilla  hadn't  known  what  he  had  in  mind,  but  she 
knew  it  wasn't  anything  good  and  she  begged  him  to  let 
them  go.  If  he  would  just  let  them  out  on  the  highway, 
they'd  find  their  way  back  to  Enumclaw. 

359 


ANN  RULE 

"Just  let  us  go,"  she  said.  "I  promise  we  won't  tell  any- 
one!" she  had  pleaded. 

"It's  too  late"  was  their  captor's  cryptic  response. 

While  Camilla  tried  to  reason  with  the  man,  Keith  was 
trying  to  get  the  door  open  and  jump  out,  pulling  Camilla 
with  him.  He  signaled  his  intention  with  his  eyes,  and  she 
understood — and  was  ready  to  jump  with  him. 

"But  Keith  couldn't  get  the  door  open  without  the  man 
knowing,"  she  said.  "He  had  these  seat  belts,  and  they 
buzzed  really  loud  if  they  got  unhooked.  The  guy  would 
have  been  alerted  right  away  if  we  tried  to  jump  out." 

Their  kidnapper  kept  driving  along  narrower  and  nar- 
rower roads.  It  was  daylight,  but  the  trees  surrounding 
them  hid  the  sky  and  made  it  feel  like  dusk.  Maybe  it  was, 
she'd  thought.  Maybe  they'd  been  driving  for  hours;  in  her 
terror,  she  had  lost  track  of  time. 

Camilla  continued  to  plead  for  their  release,  but  she  got 
on  the  stranger's  nerves.  Suddenly,  she  heard  the  gun  fire 
and  felt  a  stinging  pain  in  her  thigh. 

"I  was  facing  Keith  when  he  shot  me.  I  felt  it  and  I 
could  see  the  blood  and  I  screamed.  The  man  said  if  I 
didn't  shut  up,  he  would  do  it  again." 

When  they  were  an  estimated  two  or  three  miles  past 
the  Mud  Mountain  Dam,  the  driver  turned  the  car  down  a 
gravel  road.  Evidently,  he  had  found  it  dark  enough  and  ^ 
secluded  enough  to  serve  his  purposes. 

"He  made  us  get  out  of  the  car,  and  then  he  reached 
into  the  backseat  and  came  out  carrying  this  collapsible  i 
shovel.  That  was  scary,  because  we  wondered  why  he 
needed  a  shovel?" 


360  ; 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

Camilla  drew  a  deep  breath  and  tried  to  keep  her  voice 
from  trembling.  Their  abductor's  next  request  had  first 
struck  them  as  so  ridiculous  and  humiliating  that  they 
didn't  believe  him  at  first. 

"He  ordered  us  to  take  off  our  clothes.  He  was  holding 
the  gun  in  his  right  hand.  And  it  was  a  very  small  gun. 
He'd  already  shot  me  with  it,  and  I  was  still  standing  up. 

"Keith  and  I  looked  at  each  other  and  laughed." 

But  they'd  soon  learned  it  wasn't  a  joke.  "He  said  we'd 
better  do  as  we  were  told." 

And  so  they  removed  their  clothing,  taking  as  much 
time  as  possible,  taking  off  their  jewelry,  watches,  tucking 
socks  inside  shoes,  folding  garments  very  slowly  and 
carefiilly.  They  were  both  terribly  embarrassed,  and  hoped 
the  man  with  the  gun  would  tell  them  to  stop  before  they 
were  totally  naked. 

But  he  said  nothing,  watching  them  with  glittering  eyes 
until  they  were  both  completely  nude. 

"Now  you've  got  to  make  love  to  her!"  the  man  barked 
at  Keith  Person. 

"We  just  stood  there  and  looked  at  each  other,"  Camilla 
recalled  from  her  hospital  bed.  "We  just  couldn't  do  that. 
Neither  of  us  ever  had.  It  was  crazy." 

When  the  stranger  realized  that  the  teenagers  were  ada- 
mant in  refusing  to  have  sexual  intercourse  despite  the  gun 
he  held  on  them,  he  ordered  Camilla  to  perform  an  act 
with  a  beer  bottle.  She  had  never  heard  of  such  a  thing  in 
her  life.  She  was  shocked  and  incredulous. 

Again,  Camilla  courageously  refused,  staring  defiantly 
at  the  madman  in  front  of  her. 


361 


ANN  RULE 

Their  captor  was  angry,  but  Keith  was  angry,  too.  He 
moved  in  front  of  Camilla  to  protect  her.  The  man  he  faced 
not  only  had  a  loaded  gun  but  outweighed  Keith  by  about 
forty  pounds.  He'd  been  trained  as  a  fighting  marine,  and 
Keith  was  only  a  sophomore  in  high  school. 

Camilla  told  Detective  Jerry  Harris  that  the  "crazy  man" 
picked  up  his  shovel  then. 

"He  started  to  hit  Keith  on  the  head  with  it,"  she  said, 
tears  running  down  her  face.  "I  knew  I  had  to  get  help.  I 
didn't  see  Keith  fall,  but  I  knew  that  both  Keith  and  I  to- 
gether wouldn't  be  a  match  for  the  'madman,'  and  his  gun 
and  his  shovel." 

While  their  kidnapper  was  distracted  by  beating  Keith, 
Camilla  ran  for  the  bushes  and  then  leaped  and  rolled 
down  the  twenty-five-foot  cliff  into  Scatter  Creek.  She  re- 
membering blacking  out  when  she  hit  the  water.  She  felt 
as  if  she  were  drunk,  or  dizzy,  or  in  a  nightmare  where 
nothing  made  sense. 

Half  walking  and  half  floating  in  the  icy  water,  she 
worked  her  way  toward  the  bridge  ahead.  Several  times, 
the  dark  waves  of  oblivion  rolled  over  her  and  she  sank 
beneath  the  water,  but  the  frigid  water  helped  to  snap  her 
back  to  consciousness. 

"And  then  I  looked  up  and  I  saw  the  man  with  the  gun 
above  me.  He'd  been  following  me  along  the  bank." 

Somewhere  she'd  heard  the  term  "like  shooting  fish  in  a 
barrel."  She  felt  like  the  fish,  trapped  without  any  protec- 
tion at  all. 

"He  told  me  to  get  out  of  the  creek  and  come  back  up 
the  bank,"  Camilla  said.  "And  I  did  what  he  said,  but  I 
didn't  stop  when  I  crawled  up.  I  figured  that  somehow  I'd 

362 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

survived  the  first  bullet,  and  maybe  the  next  one  wouldn't 
kill  me  either.  I  knew  he  was  going  to  shoot  me." 

As  Camilla  reached  solid  ground,  she  said  she'd  begun 
to  run,  ignoring  the  shouts  of  the  man  behind  her.  She 
heard  him  fire  the  gun  again,  and  waited  for  the  sting  in 
her  back,  but  this  time  the  bullet  didn't  hit  her. 

And  then,  mercifiilly,  she  broke  out  through  the  brush 
and  ran  to  the  safety  of  the  minister's  car. 

"I  knew  he  would  have  killed  me  if  he  caught  me  .  .  ." 

Camilla  said  she  had  never  seen  the  man  before  but 
knew  she  would  recognize  him  again.  Despite  his  bizarre 
demands  that  she  and  Keith  perform  sexually  for  him,  he 
had  not  touched  her  himself. 


Why  on  earth  had  the  suspect  taken  the  helpless  teenagers 
for  that  forced  ride? 

Detective  Grunden  tried  to  sort  out  some  of  the  answers 
as  he  took  a  statement  from  Jerry  Lee  Ross.  Again,  Ross 
had  been  fully  advised  of  his  rights  and^  after  talking  to  his 
pastor,  he  said  that  he  wanted  to  tell  the  truth  about  what 
had  happened. 

He  recalled  that  he'd  seen  the  two  young  people  walk- 
ing toward  Enumclaw.  He  wasn't  sure  of  the  time,  but  he 
decided  he'd  ask  them  if  they  wanted  a  lift.  He  denied  he 
had  forced  them  into  the  car. 

"As  we  were  driving  the  girl  asked  me  where  we  were 
going.  About  that  time  I  pulled  out  a  gun  alongside  the 
driver's  seat.  I  had  put  the  gun  next  to  the  seat  before  I  left 
home  in  the  morning.  The  gun  is  a  .25-caliber  automatic,  a 
Colt.  I'd  loaded  it  with  seven  shots. 

363 


ANN  RULE 

"I  told  them  to  keep  their  mouths  shut — that  we  were 
just  going  for  a  ride." 

But,  as  he  continued  his  statement,  Ross  admitted  that 
he  was  thinking  about  the  girl  as  they  drove.  At  first,  he'd 
considered  "laying  her"  himself. 

"Then  I  thought  about  watching  them  do  it,"  he  said.  "I 
also  thought  I  could  tie  the  boy  up  and  'play'  with  the  girl. 
I  already  had  a  leather  shoestring  in  my  car  that  I  planned 
to  use. 

"As  we  were  driving,  the  girl  asked  for  a  cigarette.  The 
gun  went  off  accidentally  when  I  reached  for  one." 

Jerry  Ross's  version  of  the  attack  grew  more  tangled  as 
he  spoke,  the  wheels  spinning  in  his  mind  almost  visible 
to  Grunden  as  he  wrote  down  the  words. 

"I  think  the  bullet  hit  the  horn  because  it  was  honking. 
The  bullet  struck  the  girl's  left  leg.  I  unscrewed  the  horn 
and  stopped  it  from  honking.  The  girl  was  screaming.  I 
said  something  like  shut  up  or  I  would  do  it  again — or 
something  like  that." 

Ross  recalled  how  he  turned  off  onto  a  dirt  road  and 
drove  to  the  end.  He  described  getting  the  shovel  from  the 
back  of  his  car  because  he  planned  to  knock  the  boy  out  so 
that  he  could  molest  the  girl. 

"We  walked  to  an  old  bridge  site.  We  walked  about  a 
hundred  feet.  I  told  them  to  take  off  their  clothes.  They 
were  reluctant  at  first.  The  girl  asked  me  to  let  them  go — I 
told  them  no." 

Ross  told  how  he  watched  while  the  teenagers  shed 
their  clothing. 

"I  ordered  them  to  have  sex  with  each  other,"  he  contin- 


364 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

ued,  "but  they  wouldn't  do  it.  When  they  refused,  I  offered 
the  beer  bottle  to  the  girl." 

Ross's  statement  of  the  attack  was  so  depraved  that  it 
was  difficult  for  even  veteran  detectives  to  listen  to  it. 

When  Keith's  back  was  turned,  Ross  said  he'd  hit  him 
twice  on  the  back  of  the  head  with  the  shovel.  "He  kind  of 
dodged  the  blows,  but  I  knocked  him  to  the  ground.  Then 
he  got  up,  sort  of  ran  or  turned  around. 

"The  girl  started  running  down  the  hill.  I  shot  at  the 
boy." 

Ross  said  he  had  chased  the  girl  until  he  couldn't  see 
where  she  was.  Then  he  said  he  had  disarmed  his  gun. 
He'd  returned  to  the  scene  and  found  Keith  Person  lying 
facedown.  "I  didn't  see  any  blood.  He  wasn't  moving." 

No,  Keith  Person  wasn't  moving.  Even  had  he  lived,  he 
would  not  have  moved  again.  He'd  been  shot — not  once, 
but  three  times,  with  one  of  the  slugs  lodging  in  his  spinal 
column. 

That  may  very  well  have  been  the  first  shot  that  hit  the 
brave  teenager,  and  it  would  have  paralyzed  him  from  the 
vertebrae  it  hit,  taking  away  any  feeling  below  that  level. 
A  .25-caliber  slug  is  not  all  that  large,  but  it  would  have 
severed  forever  the  vital  nerve  pathways  needed  to  walk, 
run,  ski.  A  second  shot  had  perforated  his  right  pelvis  and 
small  bowel.  The  third  shot  entered  Keith  Person's  head 
near  the  midline  in  the  back.  It  was  a  near-contact  wound, 
characteristically  star-shaped,  marked  with  smudging  and 
searing  of  the  tissues. 

It  now  looked  very  much  as  though  someone  had  delib- 
erately placed  the  gun  close  to  the  boy's  head  and  fired 


365 


ANN  RULE 

while  he  lay  helpless  from  the  spinal  wound.  This  was 
probably  the  shot,  coming  from  deep  in  the  woods,  that 
Reverend  Tweedie,  Bob  McCleod,  and  Camilla  had  heard. 

And  the  investigators  understood  now  why  Jerry  Ross's 
clothing  was  soaking  wet  when  he  came  barreling  out  in 
his  car;  he'd  gone  into  Scatter  Creek  to  try  to  grab  Camilla, 
but  her  youthful  agility  had  given  her  the  strength  to  get 
away  and  dash  up  the  bank. 

Processing  of  Jerry  Lee  Ross's  car  substantiated  state- 
ments taken  from  Camilla  and  from  Ross  himself.  Among 
the  items  found  were:  an  expended  shell  casing  (from  the 
shot  that  penetrated  Camilla's  leg);  a  brown  holster  next  to 
the  driver's  seat;  the  horn's  rim  that  had  been  struck  when 
the  bullet  was  fired  at  Camilla;  the  green  collapsible 
shovel;  the  leather  thong  that  Ross  had  planned  to  use  to 
tie  up  Keith  while  he  molested  Camilla.  The  tire  measure- 
ments matched  the  photos  and  moulages  made  at  the 
scene. 

Jerry  Lee  Ross  had  had  the  .25 -caliber  automatic  since 
March  8,  1974 — only  two  weeks  before.  At  the  time  he 
obtained  a  permit  to  carry  it,  he  had  listed  "self-protection 
and  sports"  as  his  reason  for  wanting  a  gun. 

There  wasn't  much  doubt  that  he  had  premeditated  a 
sexual  attack  on  someone.  He  just  hadn't  known  who  at 
the  time  he  bought  the  gun.  Filled  with  rage,  Ross  had 
been  a  prowling,  stalking,  killing  machine. 


Charged  with  first-degree  murder  and  first-degree  assault, 
Ross  was  denied  bail  by  Justice  Court  Judge  Evans  Mano- 
lides. 

366 


THE  DEADLY  VOYEUR 

On  April  26,  1974,  Jerry  Lee  Ross  pleaded  guilty  to 
both  counts.  Later,  he  received  a  long  prison  sentence — 
but  not  a  life  sentence.  When  he  was  released,  he  spent 
the  last  of  his  free  years  living  about  fifteen  miles  from 
Enumclaw, 

What  insidious  tracery  of  cruelty  moving  through 
Ross's  brain  caused  the  death  of  a  young  man  of  great 
potential  and  the  emotional  scars  on  a  heretofore  trusting 
young  girl  is  something  that  a  psychiatrist  might  be  able  to 
explain.  He  wasn't  intoxicated  when  he  shot  Camilla  and 
Keith.  He  might  have  suffered  from  post-traumatic  stress 
disorder  after  serving  in  Vietnam,  but  that  diagnosis  was 
seldom  accepted  in  courtrooms  in  1974.  He  might  have 
been  a  run-of-the-mill  sociopath,  capable  of  neither  empa- 
thy nor  guilt. 

For  the  parents  and  siblings  of  the  two  kidnapped 
youngsters,  it  really  doesn't  matter  anymore.  Their  losses 
are  irreplaceable.  And,  for  the  community  of  Enumclaw, 
there  is  a  diminishment,  too:  gone  forever  are  innocence 
and  trust  and  the  feeling  that  violence  happens  only  in  the 
big  cities. 

If  there  was  any  good  to  come  out  of  the  tragedy  of 
March  22,  1974,  it  is  the  knowledge  that  passersby  did 
help,  and  that  they  cared  enough  to  stop  and  risk  their  own 
lives  in  an  effort  to  save  Camilla  Hutcheson.  Without 
them,  she  might  very  well  be  dead,  too. 


Today  Keith  Person  would  have  been  fifty  years  old.  He 
never  got  to  graduate  from  high  school,  go  to  college, 
marry,  become  a  father,  or  have  a  career  he  enjoyed. 

367 


ANN  RULE 

Camilla  Hutcheson  is  fifty-one,  but  she  has  disap- 
peared from  the  public  eye,  cherishing  her  privacy.  Cer- 
tainly, she  has  carried  the  weight  of  a  tragic  and  ultimately 
frightening  memory  over  the  thirty-five  years  that  have 
passed  since  Keith  died.  To  maintain  her  privacy,  I  have 
changed  her  name. 

All  the  detectives  who  worked  to  unravel  this  unbeliev- 
able case  have  long  since  retired,  and  a  few  are  deceased. 

Jerry  Lee  Ross  died  on  January  14,  2006,  at  the  age  of 
fifty-nine.  The  one  thing  in  his  life  he  was  proud  of  was 
his  service  as  a  corporal  in  the  Marine  Corps.  He  lies  bur- 
ied among  other  soldiers,  sailors,  and  marines  in  Tahoma 
National  Cemetery  in  Kent,  Washington. 

The  reason  why  he  shot  at  two  helpless  kids  died  with 
him.  And  maybe  even  he  didn't  know  why. 


368 


DARK  FOREST: 
DEEP  DANGER 


The  state  of  Oregon  voices  a  philosophy  about  tour- 
ists— only  half  in  jest:  "Visit  us  but  don't  move  here."  Na- 
tive Oregonians  and  "near-natives"  cling  to  the  fond  hope 
that  they  can  keep  Oregon's  natural  glories  free  of  the 
megalopolis  congestion  that  chokes  other  parts  of  Amer- 
ica, and  keep  the  air  as  crystalline  and  pure  as  it  was  in 
pioneer  days,  when  weary  travelers  first  glimpsed  what 
was  indeed  a  promised  land.  Oregon  may  very  well  be  the 
ideal  spot  in  America  to  raise  a  young  family,  and  the 
Medford-Jacksonville  area  in  the  southwestern  part  of 
the  state  is  one  of  its  choicest  regions. 

Those  Harry  and  David  fruit  baskets  sent  for  Christ- 
mas and  other  celebrations — every  juicy  piece  wrapped  in 
tissue  paper — come  from  the  orchards  growing  around 
Medford. 

In  Jackson  County,  the  thick  stands  of  towering  fir  al- 
ternate on  the  horizon  with  dry  chaparral,  and  gold  and 
green  rolling  hills  give  way  to  emerald-shaded  mountains 
that  rise  higher  and  higher  and  then  disappear  into  clouds 
or,  perhaps,  infinity.  Until  the  recent  recession,  jobs  were 
almost  always  plentiful  for  an  able-bodied  man  willing  to 

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ANN  RULE 

work  in  the  orchards,  the  woods,  computer  companies, 
and  the  many  industries  necessary  to  maintain  the  com- 
fortable standard  of  Uving  local  residents  enjoy.  In  the  last 
thirty  years  or  so,  myriad  businesses  have  expanded  to 
cater  to  the  burgeoning  tourist  trade.  Fishermen,  hunters, 
campers,  and  those  who  seek  to  recapture  a  sense  of  how 
it  was  more  than  a  century  ago,  vacation  in  Jackson 
County. 

The  Rogue  River  and  the  Applegate  River  wind  their 
way  through  the  county,  although  today  a  section  of  the 
Applegate  has  long  been  dammed  up  to  become  Applegate 
Lake,  flooding  small  hamlets  such  as  Copper,  which  no 
longer  exists  above  water.  Sturgis  Fork  and  Carberry 
Creek  also  flourish  near  Jacksonville. 

None  of  the  main  characters  in  this  very  sad  true  story 
were  tourists,  however;  most  were  native  born,  descended 
from  Oregon  families  who  have  been  around  for  genera- 
tions. 

Some  had  chosen  Oregon  to  be  their  home  state. 

In  the  case — or  rather,  cases — below,  we  will  follow 
three  families.  One  was  to  be  admired  and  emulated,  at 
least  until  they  met  up  with  pure  evil  in  a  deceptively 
peaceful  setting.  The  next  was  downright  odd — and  vio- 
lent. The  third  family  was  small,  only  a  mother-to-be  and 
the  infant  she  carried  in  her  womb.  There  was  a  common 
denominator  among  them,  of  course. 

Their  lives  became  inexorably  linked,  their  fates  en- 
twined, all  their  names  noted  in  media  reports  and  news- 
paper articles.  The  five  victims  might  have  avoided  their 
fates  if  the.  dates  or  times  they  met  with  a  stalker  were 
changed  just  a  little.  If  they  had  shopped  for  groceries  a 

372 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

half  hour  earlier,  if  it  had  rained,  if  a  car  hadn't  broken 
down  ...  so  many  minute  aspects  of  anyone's  day  can 
change  fate. 

Or,  possibly,  they  are  fate? 

The  first  victims  had  no  reason  to  be  afraid.  They  were 
virtually  home  when  they  met  unimaginable  cruelty  and 
danger.  They  trusted  the  land,  the  woods,  their  neighbors, 
and  even  strangers. 

Their  stalker  wasn't  afraid,  either.  Nonetheless,  he 
trusted  no  one  and  had  no  sense  of  guilt  or  conscience  in 
the  dark  places  behind  his  charismatic  smile. 

The  last  victim  should  have  died,  and  would  have 
died — had  she  not  been  incredibly  brave.  She  clung  to  her 
life  and  her  baby's  life,  as  she  realized  to  her  horror  that 
she  was  the  only  one  who  could  save  them. 


In  the  summer  of  1974,  twenty-eight-year-old  Richard 
Cowden  and  his  family  lived  in  White  City,  Oregon,  a 
town  with  about  6,500  residents.  Like  his  brothers,  he  was 
a  handsome  man.  Cowden  was  a  logging  truck  driver,  han- 
dling those  behemoths  of  the  blacktop  with  their  loads  of 
felled  timber  giants  as  easily  as  another  man  might  pilot  a 
Volkswagen  Bug.  It  was  hard  work,  but  the  pay  was  excel- 
lent and  he  enjoyed  the  woods,  with  the  pungent  smell  of 
evergreens  mixed  with  sawdust  and  the  sound  of  keening 
chain  saws. 

Cowden  had  a  family  to  support  and  protect,  and  he 
cherished  them.  There  was  his  wife — Belinda  June,  twenty- 
two,  a  pretty,  dark-haired  woman;  five-year-old  David 
James;  and  the  new  arrival,  five-month-old  Melissa  Dawn. 

373 


ANN  RULE 

They  lived  in  a  three-bedroom,  two-bathroom  home,  com- 
plete with  mortgage,  of  course,  but  they  were  chipping 
away  at  that.  They  had  two  cars,  one  a  1956  Ford  pickup 
that  they  used  for  camping,  they  were  making  payments  on 
the  1970  sedan,  a  vacuum  cleaner,  and  some  new  house- 
hold furnishings.  They  still  managed  to  maintain  two  sav- 
ings accounts. 

Richard  and  Belinda  were  close  to  their  extended  fami- 
lies. This  solidarity  helped  them  all  get  through  a  spate  of 
serious  family  illness.  Three  sons  had  been  born  to  the 
elder  Cowdens;  the  oldest  brother  died  of  cancer  when  he 
was  only  twenty-five.  Richard  was  bom  next,  followed 
thirteen  months  later  by  his  brother  Wes.  They  had  a  sister 
named  Susan.  Because  he'd  started  school  at  four,  Richard 
was  held  back  a  year,  so  he  and  Wes  ended  up  in  the  same 
grade,  and  they  went  through  school  together,  further  ce- 
menting the  already  close  bond  between  them. 

Richard  Cowden  was  content  and  at  ease  in  his  world, 
but  in  late  summer  1974  he  faced  someone  unlike  anyone 
else  he  had  ever  known. 

By  Labor  Day  weekend  that  year,  the  Cowdens'  freezer 
was  filled  for  winter,  and  Belinda's  vegetable  garden  still 
thrived.  They  had  just  finished  redecorating  young  David's 
bedroom,  and  he  was  looking  forward  to  starting  kmder- 
garten.  Their  first  Christmas  with  baby  Melissa  lay  ahead. 
It  seemed  as  if  they  had  the  perfect  life. 

The  Cowdens  loved  to  camp  out,  but  they  hadn't 
planned  to  go  camping  on  the  Labor  Day  holiday.  Richard 
had  arranged  to  borrow  his  boss's  tnick  to  haul  a  load  of 
gravel  for  his  driveway,  and  he  expected  to  spend  the 
weekend  spreading  the  gravel. 

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DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

The  irony  of  fate,  bad  luck,  or  chance,  or  whatever  we 
choose  to  call  it,  intervened.  The  truck  broke  down,  and  no 
amount  of  tinkering  with  it  got  it  going.  Secretly,  Richard 
wasn't  really  disappointed,  because  it  meant  they  could 
take  a  few  days  for  fun  instead  of  spending  them  shoveling 
gravel. 

Belinda  fixed  a  picnic,  and  they  packed  up  kids,  their 
dog.  Droopy,  supplies,  fishing  poles,  and  disposable  dia- 
pers for  Melissa,  and  they  all  headed  for  Carberry  Creek, 
twenty-five  miles  southwest  of  Medford. 

The  camping  area  in  the  mountains  is  isolated.  The 
town  of  Copper  had  yet  to  be  flooded,  and  it  was  close  by. 
But  "town"  meant  a  crossroads,  a  country  store,  and  a  few 
houses.  A  scattering  of  farms  popped  up  downstream  from 
the  campsite  the  Cowdens  picked  on  Carberry  Creek,  but 
upstream  the  land  became  deep  woods. 

The  drive  to  reach  Carberry  Creek  was  part  of  the  fun 
of  the  outing.  The  Cowdens'  old  pickup  passed  through 
Jacksonville,  once  a  booming  gold-rush  town.  Many  of  the 
fine  old  homes  built  in  the  last  century  still  stand  in  Jack- 
sonville, with  turrets,  gables,  and  intricate  fretwork  all  ad- 
vertising that  they  once  belonged  to  men  who  had  struck  it 
rich.  The  old  county  courthouse  is  there,  too,  now.  a  mu- 
seum, filled  with  the  rusting  tools  of  the  men  who  sought 
gold  in  the  streams  and  earth  of  Jackson  County,  The 
Cowdens  were  aw^are  that  even  in  the  1 970s,  the  challenge 
of  a  fortune  still  waiting  in  the  ground  drew  miners,  but 
they  were  only  looking  for  a  quiet  spot  to  fish  and  picnic. 

Richard  turned  in  to  their  favorite  site  along  Carberry 
Creek  Road,  and  he  parked  the  pickup  on  the  road  above 
their  campsite.  There  was  a  picnic  table  close  to  the  creek, 

375 


ANN  RULE 

trees  for  shade.  The  creek  itself  was  less  than  a  foot  deep 
this  late  in  the  summer,  and  as  clear  as  glass. 

They  planned  to  camp  until  Sunday  and  then  stop  at 
Belinda's  mother's  house  in  Copper  for  dinner  on  Sunday, 
September  1 ,  before  returning  home.  The  weather  was  so 
perfect  and  the  scenery  so  beautifully  peaceful  that  they 
were  glad  the  gravel  truck  had  broken  down. 

Melissa  played  happily  on  a  blanket  while  young  David 
and  the  basset  hound,  Droopy,  scampered  around.  Then 
Richard  and  David  fished  while  Belinda  prepared  lunch  on 
the  camp  stove. 

Even  though  the  Cowdens  knew  the  area  well  and  had 
been  to  Carberry  Creek  many  times,  there  was  always 
something  new  to  discover.  Belinda  and  Richard  kept  a 
close  eye  on  David;  there  were  still  mine  shafts  around 
from  the  old  days,  as  well  as  wild  animals  and  deceptively 
deep  spots  in  the  tranquil  creek. 

Belinda's  mother  lived  just  under  a  mile  from  where 
they  camped;  her  home  was  one  of  the  few  in  Copper.  If  it 
grew  cold  or  rainy  during  the  night,  or  if  one  of  the  young- 
sters became  ill,  they  could  always  pack  up  and  be  under  a 
sheltering  roof  in  no  time. 

The  thought  of  danger  was  probably  one  of  the  farthest 
things  from  the  Cowdens'  minds  as  they  enjoyed  the  lazy 
Labor  Day  camping  trip.  Beyond  the  normal  caution  that 
any  young  family  takes  while  camping  outdoors,  they  had 
nothing  to  fear — or  believed  they  didn't. 

On  Sunday  morning,  September  1 ,  David  and  his  father 
hiked  the  mile  into  Copper  and  visited  the  general  store. 
They  bought  a  carton  of  milk  and  walked  off  toward  their 
camp.  They  appeared  perfectly  normal — happy,  certainly 

376 


> 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

not  under  any  pressure,  nor  anxious  about  Belinda  and 
Melissa,  whom  they  had  left  alone  back  at  camp. 

Later'in  the  day,  in  Copper,  Belinda's  mother  prepared 
a  big  family  dinner  and  waited  for  her  daughter's  family  to 
arrive.  The  hot  dishes  grew  cold  and  the  cold  ones  warm 
as  time  passed.  Too  much  time.  It  just  wasn't  like  Belinda 
to  be  late  for  a  dinner;  she  knew  how  much  trouble  it  was 
for  the  cook  when  guests  were  late,  and  she  was  a  consid- 
erate young  woman.  At  length,  the  older  woman  took  off 
her  apron  and  drove  to  the  campsite.  She  had  no  trouble 
finding  it.  The  Cowdens'  pickup  truck  was  parked  up  on 
Carberry  Creek  Road,  headed  down  toward  the  general 
store.  Richard  had  been  doing  that  lately,  in  case  the  bat- 
tery failed. 

She  walked  down  to  the  creek,  fiilly  expecting  to  see 
the  family. 

They  weren't  there,  and  she  felt  the  first  niggling  pricks 
of  panic.  All  their  lives  were  so  predictable,  and  they  kept 
in  touch  as  often  as  they  could.  There  were,  of  course,  no 
cell  phones  in  1 974,  and  she  had  no  way  to  call  her  daugh- 
ter and  son-in-law.  She  was  positive  that  they  wouldn't 
simply  have  forgotten  about  having  dinner  at  her  house 
and  driven  on  home. 

Belinda  wouldn't  do  that.  Besides,  it  was  obvious  that 
they  hadn't  packed  up  their  campsite.  And  their  truck  was 
still  up  on  the  road. 

A  plastic  dishpan  full  of  now-cold  water  sat  near  the 
picnic  table.  And  on  the  table  itself  was  a  carton  half-fiill  of 
milk,  dishes  and  silverware  stacked  neatly.  (The  milk  would 
turn  out  to  be  the  same  milk  that  Richard  and  David  had 
purchased  Sunday  morning,  and  it  would  help  to  establish  a 

377 


ANN  RULE 

time  line.)  The  keys  to  the  pickxip  were  on  the  table.  Belin- 
da's purse  was  in  plain  sight.  Fishing  poles  leaned  against  a 
nearby  tree.  Even  little  Melissa's  diaper  bag  was  there,  and 
the  camp  stove  was  nearby,  still  assembled. 

It  looked  as  if  the  family  had  taken  a  walk  into  the 
woods,  expecting  to  come  back  momentarily.  Belinda's 
mother  called  their  names,  and  her  own  voice  hung  in  the 
air,  startling  and  eerie  in  the  silence  that  followed.  No  one 
answered.  Even  the  birds  stopped  chirping. 

When  does  one  begin  to  be  really  afraid? 

She  walked  closer  to  Carberry  Creek  itself  She  was 
somewhat  reassured  to  see  how  low  it  was,  barely  wading 
depth.  They  couldn't  all  have  drowned,  although  she  knew 
Richard  and  Belinda  would  have  jumped  into  deep  water 
to  save  their  children.  They  would  do  anything  to  save 
their  children. 

And  then  her  eye  caught  sight  of  something  else.  Rich- 
ard Cowden's  wallet  lay  on  the  ground.  His  mother-in-law 
picked  it  up  and  saw  that  there  was  twenty-three  dollars 
inside.  Close  by,  she  found  his  expensive  wristwatch,  and 
an  opened  package  of  cigarettes,  her  daughter's  brand. 

Even  if  the  family  had  decided  to  go  into  the  forest  to 
explore  or  to  pick  berries,  she  doubted  that  they  would 
have  left  such  valuable  items  as  a  purse,  wallet,  watch,  and 
truck  keys  behind. 

Belinda's  mom  moved  back  to  the  truck.  All  the  cloth- 
ing they  had  brought  with  them  was  there — with  the  ex- 
ception of  their  bathing  suits.  And  bathing  suits  and 
blackberry  thorns  don't  mix.  If  they'd  meant  to  go  hiking, 
they  would  certainly  have  changed  into  more  appropriate 
clothing. 

378 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

Puzzled  and  more  than  a  little  frightened  now,  she  sat 
down  at  the  picnic  table  to  wait.  She  tried  to  tell  herself 
that  they'd  all  be  trooping  into  camp  in  a  minute  and  she 
wouldn't  have  to  admit  how  worried  she'd  been.  She  tried 
to  be  angry  because  her  supper  was  ruined,  but  her  gnaw- 
ing fear  overcame  the  anger. 

What  could  have  happened?  Was  there  a  deep  hole 
beneath  the  calm  surface  of  the  creek — or  maybe  even  a 
whirlpool?  Could  David  have  fallen  in  and  Richard  and 
Belinda  gone  to  his  aid?  Could  they  all  have  drowned?  But 
what  about  Melissa?  Left  alone  on  the  creek's  edge,  she 
would  be  helpless;  she  couldn't  yet  crawl,  could  barely 
turn  over.  And  she  was  always  kept  in  her  plastic  infant 
seat.  Where  was  that? 

Her  grandmother's  mind  raced,  picking  up  and  then 
churning  all  kinds  of  thoughts  about  tragedy  and  disaster. 
All  right.  Face  it.  If  they  all  drowned,  where  was  Droopy? 
A  dog  could  survive  where  a  human  couldn't. 

And  Droopy  was  gone,  too. 

She  strained  her  ears  for  the  familiar  hoarse  whooping 
sound  of  the  basset  hound's  bark— but  all  she  heard  was 
the  gentle  sighing  of  the  fir  trees  and  the  lapping  water  in 
the  creek. 

Although  summer  days  are  long  in  Oregon,  Belinda's 
mother  could  see  the  sun  sinking  in  the  west,  and  she 
knew  she  had  to  get  help  before  it  was  fully  dark.  With  one 
last  look  around  the  deserted  campsite,  one  last  hard  listen 
to  the  woods  that  might  hold  a  terrible  secret,  she  ran  to 
her  car.  Ten  minutes  later  she  called  Jackson  County  Sher- 
iff Duane  Franklin's  office. 

The  dispatcher  listened  to  her  story,  tried  to  comfort  her, 

379 


ANN  RULE 

but  thought  privately  that  the  report  didn't  sound  good. 
Sheriff's  men  and  troopers  from  the  District  3  office  of  the 
Oregon  State  PoHce  arrived  at  the  Carberry  Creek  scene.  It 
was  just  as  Belinda's  mother  had  described  it.  Certainly  the 
young  family  had  been  there — and  recently — but  they  were 
not  there  now.  The  men's  voices  echoed  in  the  wind  as  they 
called  out  the  Cowdens'  names,  and  their  shouts  drew  no 
more  response  than  had  hers. 

An  accident  could  have  happened,  of  course — but  to  an 
entire  family?  They  doubted  the  creek  was  either  deep  or 
swift  or  wide  enough  to  cause  them  all  to  drown.  At  any 
rate  they  agreed  that  the  dog  would  have  survived,  but  he 
was  gone. 

There  were  animals  in  the  deep  woods — brown  bears, 
coyotes,  cougars,  some  poisonous  snakes. 

There  might  have  been  human  "animals,"  too.  Prowling, 
stalking  voyeurs  more  dangerous  than  bears  and  cougars. 
Still,  the  lawmen,  too,  figured  there  had  to  be  a  reasonable 
explanation.  Maybe  one  of  the  Cowdens  had  been  injured 
in  an  accident  or  a  fall,  and  other  campers  had  taken  them 
all  to  a  hospital. 

When  it  became  too  dark  to  effect  a  thorough  search, 
the  investigators  departed  for  the  night,  with  officers  left 
behind  to  guard  the  spot.  A  ftiU-scale  search  would  begin 
in  the  morning. 


One  member  of  the  Cowden  family  did  show  up  the  next 
morning,  but  he  couldn't  talk.  Early  Monday  morning, 
September  2,  Droopy,  the  basset  hound,  scratched  at  the 


380 


I 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 


door  of  the  general  store  in  Copper.  Perhaps  the  only  liv- 
ing witness  to  the  fate  of  the  Cowden  family,  Droopy  had 
no  way  of  telling  the  officers  what  he  had  seen.  The  dog 
was  hungry  and  tired  but  did  not  appear  to  have  been  in- 
jured in  any  way.  Where  had  Droopy  been  all  night? 

The  Cowdens,  however,  did  not  show  up.  There  has 
probably  never  been  a  more  massive  search  effort  in  the 
state  of  Oregon  than  the  search  for  the  Cowden  family. 
Oregon  State  Police,  Jackson  County  sheriff's  officers,  the 
Oregon  National  Guard,  Explorer  Scouts,  the  U.S.  Forest 
Service,  and  scores  of  volunteers  were  sure — at  least  in 
the  beginning — that  they  could  find  them. 

Lieutenant  Mark  Kezar,  assistant  commander  of  the 
Oregon  State  Police's  District  3  division,  took  on  the  over- 
all coordination  of  the  search  and  the  subsequent  investi- 
gation. A  year  later,  he  remarked  wryly,  "I  felt  like  that 
campground  was  my  second  home." 

In  retrospect,  Kezar  regretted  that  the  investigation 
didn't  start  at  top  speed  immediately  and  was  delayed  "for 
maybe  a  day"  because  there  was  no  sign  of  violence  at  the 
Cowdens'  campsite.  No  blood,  nothing  broken.  Nothing 
stolen.  He  agonized  for  months  over  that  delay. 

Scores  of  police  personnel  and  reserves  searched  the 
Carberry  Creek  campsite  for  a  few  weeks,  and  almost  a 
dozen  detectives  worked  the  case  as  a  task  force  for  five 
months. 

The  U.S.  Forest  Service  rangers  checked  every  road 
and  trail  within  a  twenty-five-mile  radius  of  the  camp- 
ground. Planes  and  helicopters  flew  as  low  as  they  dared, 
taking  infi-ared  photographs.  If  the  Cowdens  had  been 


381 


ANN  RULE 

killed  and  buried,  the  freshly  turned  dirt  and  dying  vegeta- 
tion would  appear  bright  red  on  the  film,  although  it  might 
well  be  invisible  to  the  naked  eye. 

Investigators  at  the  campground  looked  in  vain  for 
footprints,  tire  tracks,  or  for  a  pattern  of  scuff  marks  in  the 
dirt  that  might  indicate  a  struggle  had  taken  place.  But 
there  was  nothing  at  all. 

Oregon,  the  pioneer  state,  has  long  been  known  for  a 
very  modern  skill.  The  state  has  outstanding  forensic  sci- 
ence labs,  and  their  crime  scene  investigators  are  well 
trained.  But  they  have  to  have  something  to  work  with. 
There  were  no  footprints,  no  tire  tracks  with  which  to 
form  moulages.  On  their  hands  and  knees,  CSIs  sifted  the 
dirt  at  the  Cowdens'  camp,  looking  for  metal  fragments 
(from  slugs  and/or  bullet  casings),  cloth,  buttons,  ID,  and 
any  other  infinitesimal  clue  that  might  still  be  there. 

They  found  nothing  that  would  help  solve  the  disap- 
pearances. Someone — or  some  "thing" — had  entered  the 
Cowdens'  camp  and  taken  the  family  away,  literally  with- 
out a  trace. 

It  was  almost  as  if  some  craft  from  outer  space  had 
hovered,  landed,  and  carried  off  a  typical  American  family 
to  examine  in  some  far-off  planet.  But  would  they  ever 
bring  them  back? 

Law  enforcement  investigators  think  in  far  more  prag- 
matic ways  and  tend  not  to  believe  in  such  things  as  psy- 
chics, crystal  balls,  and  alien  abductions.  They  continued 
to  search  for  the  Cowden  family. 

More  and  more,  it  looked  as  if  someone  had  kidnapped 
the  Cowdens.  But  why?  Robbery  obviously  hadn't  been 
the  motivation.  Richard's  wallet,  his  watch,  his  truck — 

382 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

complete  with  keys — were  there.  A  sexual  attack  was 
quite  possible.  Belinda  Cowden  was  a  lovely  young 
woman;  left  alone  at  the  campsite,  clad  in  a  bathing  suit 
with  only  a  friendly  basset  hound  for  protection,  she  could 
have  inspired  lust  in  the  mind  of  someone  hiking  in  the 
area. 

But  wouldn't  that  mean  that  only  Belinda  and  Melissa 
should  be  missing?  And,  if  Richard  Cowden  and  David 
had  walked  back  to  find  intruders  in  the  campsite  and  a 
fight  had  ensued,  wouldn't  there  be  evidence  of  a  struggle? 
Why  would  the  entire  family  be  missing  now? 

Lieutenant  Kezar  and  his  fellow  Oregon  State  Police 
officers — Lieutenant  George  Winterfeld,  Sergeant  Ernie 
Walden,  and  troopers  Lee  Erickson  and  Darin  Parker — set 
up  task  force  headquarters  at  the  camp.  They  called  for  aid 
from  state  police  technical  experts  in  Salem,  the  state 
capital. 

Sheriff  Franklin  cut  down  on  some  patrols  and  shifts  so 
that  he  could  make  every  man  possible  available  for  the 
search  that  was  becoming  more  baffling  by  the  day. 

They  searched  the  abandoned  mine  shafts,  as  well  as 
both  sides  of  every  creek,  river,  and  gully  for  miles.  If, 
however  improbably,  the  Cowdens  had  drowned,  their 
bodies  would  have  surfaced  and  been  caught  in  the  rocks 
and  debris  downstream  in  Carberry  Creek. 

But  none  of  them  did — nor  was  even  a  shred  of  cloth 
fi-om  a  bathing  suit  found. 

They  brought  in  bloodhounds  and  necrosearch  dogs — 
the  canines  trained  to  pick  up  scents  of  either  living  crea- 
tures or  dead  bodies.  They  were  given  the  scents  of  the 
Cowden  family  from  clothing  left  behind  at  the  campsite. 

383 


ANN  RULE 

The  dogs  started  out  enthusiastically,  but  they  soon  ran  in 
circles,  then  stopped  and  looked  at  their  trainers  as  if  to 
say,  "What  is  it  you  want  us  to  find?" 

State  police  detectives  talked  cautiously  to  the  press, 
who  soon  sensed  a  story  of  highly  unusual  circumstances. 
Erickson  commented,  "That  camp  was  spooky;  even  the 
milk  was  still  on  the  table." 

Sergeant  Walden  agreed.  "It's  getting  to  look  really 
strange.  It's  not  logical  that  a  couple  like  that  would  take 
off  with  two  young  kids  and  leave  all  their  belongings." 

As  the  weeklong  intensive  search  continued,  there 
wasn't  a  person  in  the  whole  Northwest  who  could  read  or 
watch  TV  who  hadn't  heard  about  the  missing  family. 

The  closest  thing  to  a  clue  was  a  report  that  hikers  had 
seen  a  dog,  a  basset  hound,  on  September  1  some  four  to 
six  miles  upstream  from  the  campsite.  But  they  hadn't 
seen  anyone  with  him. 

The  Carberry  Creek  area  is  only  a  short  distance  from 
the  California  border,  and  it  is  literally  crisscrossed  with 
logging  roads,  honeycombed  with  abandoned  gold  mine 
shafts — some  of  them  sunk  as  long  as  a  hundred  years 
ago.  Lieutenant  Kezar  and  his  men  realized  that  the 
Cowdens  might  never  be  found  if  they  had  been  killed  and 
hidden  in  some  mine  whose  existence  had  been  known 
only  to  old-timers — now  long  dead — with  the  mine's 
entrance  grown  over  with  underbrush. 

Kezar  did  not  believe  that  an  entire  family  could  have 
stumbled  and  fallen  into  such  a  mine. 

A  few  other  possibilities,  more  shocking — if  that  was 
possible — had  to  be  considered.  Could  the  Cowdens  have 
chosen  to  vanish  voluntarily?  Or  had  either  Belinda  or 

384 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

Richard  murdered  their  own  family  and  disappeared?  It 
has  happened  in  other  cases.  People  do  run  away  for  pri- 
vate reasons:  to  avoid  financial  responsibility  or  some 
personal  situation.  They  crack  under  pressure,  shocking 
everyone  who  knows  them. 

The  investigators  scrutinized  the  Cowdens'  past  thor- 
oughly. They  had  no  more  debts  than  any  couple  in  their 
twenties,  and  they  weren't  behind  on  any  payments.  More- 
over, Richard  Cowden's  paycheck  was  more  than  adequate 
to  meet  their  monthly  bills.  Belinda  was  a  good  manager — 
as  evidenced  by  the  ftill  freezer  and  the  garden  she  kept  up. 
Cowden  was  considered  a  valuable  employee  on  the  job, 
and  he  hadn't  had  any  beefs  with  other  drivers  or  loggers. 

As  far  as  the  marriage  went,  it  was  described  as  very 
happy  by  friends  and  relatives.  The  handsome  couple  were 
devoted  to  each  other,  probably  even  more  so  since  the 
birth  of  Melissa  five  months  before.  If  there  had  been  any 
breath  of  scandal  about  their  marriage,  it  would  have  been 
well  known  in  a  town  as  small  as  White  City — but  there 
was  none. 

No,  there  was  no  reason  in  the  world  for  the  Cowdens 
to  choose  to  disappear.  Lieutenant  Kezar  was  convinced 
that  wherever  they  were,  they  had  been  taken  against  their 
will. 

The  searchers  abandoned  the  organized  efforts  near  the 
campsite  in  the  Siskiyous  a  week  or  so  after  Labor  Day. 
They  had  not  found  one  scrap  of  physical  evidence  that 
might  help  find  the  Cowdens,  much  less  the  family  them- 
selves. They  realized  that  the  couple  and  their  two  children 
could  be  thousands  of  miles  away  by  this  time  ...  if  they 
had  left  of  their  own  accord. 

385 


ANN  RULE 

But  no  one  who  knew  them  believed  that  theory.  Nei- 
ther Richard  nor  Behnda  would  put  their  families  through 
such  pain — especially  since  Richard's  parents  had  already 
lost  one  son,  and  they  were  waiting  to  hear  if  another  son 
had  cancer.  Richard's  brother  Wes  had  started  out  Labor 
Day  weekend  with  a  reason  to  celebrate.  He  had  just  been 
released  from  the  hospital  after  exploratory  surgery  on  a 
tumor  that  his  doctors  feared  was  malignant.  With  the 
memory  of  his  oldest  brother's  death  from  cancer  at  the 
age  of  twenty-five,  Wes  had  been  prepared  for  a  similar 
diagnosis. 

But  his  lump  was  found  to  be  benign,  and  he  was  tre- 
mendously grateful.  Within  a  day,  he  learned  that  his 
beloved  brother  Richard  and  Richard's  family  had  disap- 
peared. 

The  Oregon  State  Police  and  the  Jackson  County  Sher- 
iff's Office  were  flooded  now  with  clues,  suggestions,  the- 
ories. Some  were  too  ridiculous  to  consider,  but  others 
were  checked  out  thoroughly.  In  the  months  to  come, 
Kezar  and  his  men  would  interview  150  people,  compile  a 
file  on  the  Cowdens'  disappearance  case,  and  come  to 
know  the  family  as  well  as  if  they'd  known  them  person- 
ally for  fifty  years. 

As  soon  as  Wes  Cowden  recuperated  enough  from  sur- 
gery, he  and  his  father,  who  had  once  been  a  trapper  and 
knew  the  mountains,  ravines,  trails,  and  campsites  of  the 
upper  Applegate  Valley  by  heart,  began  their  weeks-long 
search  for  Richard,  Belinda,  David,  and  Melissa.  They 
were  both  eager  to  find  some  answers,  and  afraid  of  what 
those  might  be. 

It  was  probably  the  worst  heartbreak  any  family  could 

386 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

go  through:  not  knowing.  None  of  the  Cowdens'  relatives 
slept  well,  and  their  minds  kept  returning  to  terrible  imag- 
inings about  what  could  have  happened  to  them.  They 
tried  to  protect  each  other,  and  many  suppressed  their  own 
feelings  so  that  they  wouldn't  hurt  each  other  more. 

A  $2,000  reward  for  information  was  set  up.  Just 
before  hunting  season  began,  another  plea  for  funds  went 
out.  The  grieving  friends  and  relatives  of  the  missing  fam- 
ily felt  that  deer  hunters  might  be  in  a  position  to  unravel 
the  puzzle,  which  grew  more  inexplicable  with  each  pass- 
ing day. 

On  October  3,  Richard  Cowden's  sister  wrote  a  letter  to 
the  editor  of  the  Medford  Mail  Tribune,  appealing  to  hunt- 
ers to  be  on  the  alert  for  "anything  that  could  be  connected 
to  a  man,  a  woman,  a  five-year-old  child,  or  a  five -month- 
old  baby.  Even  though  we  try  not  to  let  our  hopes  dwindle 
that  they  will  be  found  alive,  we  ask  that  you  will  even 
check  freshly  turned  piles  of  earth.  We  will  truly  appreci- 
ate any  clue  or  help  that  some  hunter  may  find." 

It  was  a  tragic  request,  proving  once  again  that  there  is 
nothing  worse  than  not  knowing.  At  the  time,  eight  young 
women  were  missing  in  the  Northwest;  all  of  them  had 
vanished  completely  in  Washington  and  Oregon,  but  the 
concept  that  a  whole  family  could  disappear  v/as  incom- 
prehensible. (The  missing  women  were  later  determined 
to  be  victims  of  serial  killer  Ted  Bundy.) 

Two  hundred  concerned  citizens  wrote  to  Oregon  Sen- 
ator Mark  Hatfield,  asking  him  to  have  the  FBI  actively 
enter  the  probe.  But  there  was  no  evidence  that  the 
Cowdens  had  been  kidnapped  or  taken  across  state  lines. 
Senator  Hatfield  and  Lieutenant  Kezar  stressed  that  every 

387 


ANN  RULE 

law  enforcement  agency  asked  to  assist  in  the  case  so  far 
had  responded  with  fiill  strength — ^but  there  was  so  Httle 
for  any  of  them  to  go  on. 

The  hunting  season  came  and  went,  with  no  trace  of  the 
Cowdens.  Christmas  arrived,  but  no  one  in  their  family 
felt  like  celebrating.  Richard  and  Belinda's  house  sat  dark 
and  empty.  Snow  covered  the  hills  where  they  had  pic- 
nicked, and  then  the  rolling  slopes  brightened  with 
lupines,  wild  mustard,  and  wild  iris,  and  a  torrent  of  spring 
rains  washed  the  snow  and  topsoil  away. 


On  Saturday,  April  12,  1975,  two  men  from  Forest  Grove, 
Oregon,  were  taking  advantage  of  the  spring  weather  as 
they  made  a  trip  to  the  Carberry  Creek  area  to  do  some 
prospecting  for  gold.  They  looked  for  the  precious  ore  in 
the  upper  Applegate  region,  six  and  a  half  miles  upstream 
from  the  campsite  where  the  Cowdens  had  disappeared 
seven  and  a  half  months  earlier. 

Forest  Grove  is  a  long  way  north  of  Medford,  and  the 
men  were  not  nearly  as  aware  of  the  disappearance  of  the 
Cowdens  as  were  local  residents.  Their  thoughts  were  only 
of  finding  gold  as  they  approached  a  steep,  timbered,  rocky 
hillside  about  three  hundred  feet  above  the  old  Sturgis  Fork 
campground.  But  they  soon  forgot  all  about  striking  gold. 

They  found  first  one  bone,  and  then  another,  and  were 
horrified  when  they  saw  what  appeared  to  be  the  skeleton 
of  a  human  being.  It  was  tied  to  a  tree.  Animals  had  scat- 
tered some  of  the  smaller  bones  over  a  hundred  feet  in 
every  direction. 


388 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

The  modem-day  prospectors  had  no  idea  how  long  the 
remains  had  been  there,  but  they  noted  bits  of  clothing, 
faded  by  weather,  in  the  area,  too,  and  were  pretty  sure 
they  weren't  looking  at  the  skeleton  of  a  long-dead  miner. 
They  ran  back  to  their  vehicle  and  called  the  Jackson 
County  Sheriff's  Office. 

It  was  3:30  p.m. — ^and  over  seven  months  since  the 
Cowden  family  had  vanished. 

Sheriff  Franklin  dispatched  deputies  and  notified  Lieu- 
tenant Kezar  and  the  Oregon  State  Police  team.  The  offi- 
cers were  fairly  certain  that  they  knew  what  they  had — at 
least  one  member  of  the  Cowden  family.  From  the  length 
of  the  femur  bones  and  the  configuration  of  the  pelvis,  the 
body  would  appear  to  be  that  of  Richard  Cowden. 

Kezar  knew  that  it  would  take  extremely  careful  crimi- 
nal investigation  to  preserve  what  evidence  was  left  after 
almost  eight  months.  He  requested  assistance  at  once  from 
technical  experts  in  Salem  and  from  Dr.  William  Brady, 
the  Oregon  State  medical  examiner. 

The  troopers  and  deputies  searched  the  hillside  for  the 
rest  of  the  afternoon  but  had  to  quit  as  shadows  began  to 
fall.  They  had  waited  out  the  winter  and  the  spring;  they 
didn't  want  to  risk  losing  some  vital  clue  because  of  dark- 
ness. 

At  dawn  the  next  morning,  they  were  back.  At  9:30, 
they  came  upon  a  cave,  a  cave  whose  entrance  was  nearly 
obscured  by  an  outcropping  of  rock  above  it.  It  had  obvi- 
ously been  almost  totally  sealed  up  with  rocks  and  dirt, 
either  by  nature  or  a  human  being.  But  the  fierce  Oregon 
winter  rains  had  pelted  the  barricade,  and  a  small  rock- 


389 


ANN  RULE 

slide  had  resulted,  letting  slices  of  light  into  the  cave  itself. 

The  officers  looked  into  the  opening,  trying  to  focus 
as  their  eyes  adjusted  to  the  dark.  There  were  bones 
inside,  obliquely  reflecting  the  filtered  light  of  the  forest. 
Carefiilly,  sifting  the  debris  as  they  worked,  they  unearthed 
a  body  inside.  It,  too,  was  the  skeleton  of  an  adult,  this 
skeleton  smaller,  though,  than  the  one  tied  to  a  nearby 
tree,  and  most  likely  a  female  with  short,  dark  brown 
hair. 

They  lifted  the  decomposed  form  out  and  shone  their 
flashlights  into  the  dim  interior  of  the  cave.  There  were 
other  bones.  Small  bones  that  would  prove  to  be  those  of  a 
small  child,  and  the  tender  bones  of  an  infant. 

At  last,  they  were  looking  at  what  they  were  sure  was 
the  Cowden  family,  buried  away  from  all  the  searchers 
until  Mother  Nature  herself  revealed  at  least  part  of  the 
answer  to  a  terrible  secret.  The  lost  family  had  undoubt- 
edly been  here,  seven  miles  fi-om  their  campsite,  since  the 
previous  fall. 

Kezar,  Franklin,  and  their  men  fanned  out  over  the  hill- 
side. They  went  over  every  inch  of  ground,  finding  more 
clothing  and  a  plastic  baby  carrier,  its  gay  pastel  coloring 
grimly  incongruous  to  its  grisly  surroundings. 

Everything  found — no  matter  how  small — was  bagged 
and  labeled;  the  Oregon  State  Police  forensics  laboratory 
would  analyze  all  of  it.  Metal  detectors  were  brought  in, 
and  the  entire  area  was  scanned  in  an  attempt  to  find  the 
murder  gun  and  or  bullet  casings — ^with  no  success.  For 
days  Kezar  and  his  men  literally  sifted  the  earth  of  the 
cave  and  hillside,  but  the  killer  had  been  meticulous  in 
leaving  no  sign  of  himself  behind. 

390 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

The  investigators  sought  a  gun — because  the  bodies  of 
the  woman  and  little  boy  in  the  cave  appeared  to  have 
been  shot.  If,  for  whatever  unfathomable  reason,  Richard 
Cowden  had  killed  his  wife  and  children,  and  then  killed 
himself,  the  weapon  would  be  there. 

There  was  no  death  weapon  in  the  area.  If  it  was  there, 
anywhere  within  the  radius  that  a  dying  man  could  throw 
it,  Kezar's  men  would  have  found  it. 

No,  someone  had  taken  the  family  far,  far  upstream 
from  their  camp,  probably  at  gunpoint  and,  once  there, 
killed  them.  The  woman  and  children  were  stuffed  into  the 
cave  then,  and  sealed' up  like  characters  in  an  Edgar  Allan 
Poe  horror  tale.  Cowden 's  body  would  have  been  too  large 
to  fit  into  the  cave,  and  the  killer  or  killers  had  left  him 
where  he  was  tied,  helpless  to  protect  his  family. 

Positive  identification  of  the  remains  was  made  by 
comparison  of  their  teeth  with  dental  records.  Dr.  Brady 
performed  the  postmortem  exams  in  an  attempt  to  deter- 
mine the  specific  cause  of  death.  He  confirmed  that 
Belinda  and  David  had  succumbed  to  .22-caliber  bullet 
wounds — Brady  found  spent  slugs  in  their  bodies — and 
tiny  Melissa  had  perished  from  severe  head  wounds.  But  it 
was  impossible  to  determine  cause  of  death  for  Richard 
Cowden.  He  could  have  been  shot,  too,  with  a  bullet  pierc- 
ing soft  tissue  that  had  disintegrated  with  the  passage  of 
time,  but  Dr.  Brady  could  not  be  sure. 

Without  body  tissue,  lethal  methods  like  strangulation 
and  stabbing  are  often  impossible  to  establish  so  long  after 
death.  Sometimes,  .22-caliber  bullets  do  little  damage — 
unless  they  hit  bones,  which  change  their  path  within  the 
body.  Then,  they  can  injure  vital  organs  fatally. 

391 


ANN  RULE 

They  knew  the  weapon  was  a  .22 — rifle  or  handgun — 
but  they  weren't  able  to  do  ballistics  comparisons  because 
they  didn't  have  the  murder  gun. 

Lieutenant  Kezar  made  a  somewhat  cryptic  statement 
to  the  press,  saying  he  believed  the  killer  probably  was  a 
person  who  either  lived  in  the  area  or  had  once  lived  in  the 
area,  because  the  bodies  had  been  stashed  in  such  a  hid- 
den, murky  cave,  a  cave  only  a  local  person  would  be 
likely  to  know  about. 

The  $2,000  reward  for  information  leading  to  the  find- 
ing of  the  Cowden  family  was  paid  to  the  two  gold  pros- 
pectors who  had  found  Richard  Cowden's  remains. 
Another  reward,  totaling  $1,697,  remained  for  information 
leading  to  the  arrest  and  conviction  of  the  killer. 

It  seemed  that  Droopy,  the  family  pet,  might  be  the  only 
living  creature — beyond  the  killer  himself — who  knew 
what  had  happened.  Campers  had  seen  the  basset  four  to  six 
miles  upstream  on  the  creek,  very  close  to  where  the  bodies 
were  eventually  discovered.  Questioned  again,  they  shook 
their  heads  helplessly  That's  all  they  had  seen — a  dog. 

Droopy  had  probably  made  his  way  back  to  the  town  of 
Copper,  looking  for  his  family. 

One  Copper  resident  recalled  that  he  had  talked  to  a 
young  family  on  September  1 .  He  looked  at  the  Cowden 
family's  photo  and  shook  his  head.  It  wasn't  the  missing 
family  he'd  seen;  they  were  tourists  who  said  they  were 
from  the  Los  Angeles  area. 

'T  remember  they  said,  'We're  camping  right  across  fi*om 
you,'  which  would  have  meant  the  old  campgrounds." 

The  witness  said  that  the  couple  were  in  their  late  twen- 


392 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

ties  or  early  thirties,  and  very  friendly.  The  man  had  said 
he  was  in  the  computer  field — ^possibly  as  a  programmer 
in  Los  Angeles.  He'd  had  a  beard. 

The  California  couple  were  traveling  with  children. 
"They  had  three  children,"  the  other  camper  said.  "They 
all  had  biblical  names.  I  can't  tell  you  just  what  they  were, 
but  they  were  old-fashioned,  from  the  Bible — maybe 
Joshua  or  Jason,  Sarah.  I  can't  recall.  One  of  the  kids  was 
just  a  baby  in  one  of  those  backpack  things." 

The  investigative  team  wanted  mightily  to  talk  to  that 
family.  It  was  possible  that  they  had  seen  someone  in  the 
area  on  the  fatal  September  1,  but  the  team's  requests  for 
contact,  published  in  Southern  California  papers,  drew  no 
response  at  first.  The  campers  weren't  suspects,  but  they 
might  have  seen  someone  who  was. 

Eventually,  the  investigators  did  locate  the  California 
tourists.  Yes,  they  had  arrived  at  the  campgrounds  about 
five  o'clock  on  the  night  of  September  1.  The  Cowdens 
were  believed  to  have  been  abducted  about  midmoming 
that  day,  so  the  Calif omians  wouldn't  have  seen  them. 

"Two  men  and  a  woman  pulled  up  in  a  pickup  truck, 
though,"  the  father  of  three  recalled.  "They  acted  like  they 
were  waiting  for  us  to  leave,  and,  ft-ankly,  they  made  us 
nervous — so  we  moved  on." 

A  man  from  Grants  Pass  contacted  the  state  police  after 
he  heard  that  the  Cowdens'  bodies  had  been  found.  He 
was  puzzled. 

"I  was  helping  in  the  search  last  September,"  he  said, 
"and  I  searched  that  cave.  There  were  no  bodies  in  it." 

Kezar  figured  they  were  probably  talking  about  two  dif- 


393 


ANN  RULE 

ferent  caves.  "I  asked  him  to  take  us  to  the  cave  he  meant, 
to  make  sure  we  were  talking  about  the  same  thing — and 
he  did." 

And  it  was  the  cave  that  had  become  a  crypt.  Was  it 
possible  the  killer  had  begun  to  worry  that  someone  would 
find  the  bodies,  and  he  returned  to  where  he'd  originally 
left  them,  and  moved  them  into  the  cave? 

It  wasn't  impossible.  Murderers  had  moved  bodies 
before  for  that  reason. 

For  every  answer,  it  seemed,  there  were  more  questions. 


In  the  meantime.  Lieutenant  Kezar  and  Lieutenant  Win- 
terfeld.  Sergeant  Wilden,  and  trooper  Erickson  continued 
to  wade  through  mountains  of  tips,  clues,  and  specula- 
tions. 

They  checked  out  known  sex  offenders  and  psychiatric 
patients  recently  released  from  the  Oregon  State  Hospital 
in  Salem,  and  followed  up  on  both  known  and  anonymous 
informants'  messages.  It  seemed  as  if  every  small  town  in 
southern  Oregon  had  a  few  "grotesques,"  as  novelist  Sher- 
wood Anderson  described  residents  of  villages  who  didn't 
fit  in.  Most  weren't  dangerous;  they  just  marched  to  differ- 
ent drums. 

One  of  the  routine  reports  from  the  Oregon  State  Board 
of  Parole  turned  out  to  be  anything  but  routine.  They  noti- 
fied the  state  police  team  that  they  might  have  a  possible 
suspect  for  them,  one  who  certainly  seemed  capable  of 
such  a  brutal  crime. 

Dwain  Lee  Little,  twenty-five,  had  been  paroled  from 
the  Oregon  State  Penitentiary  on  May  24,  1974,  less  than 

394 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

four  months  before  the  Cowdens  vanished.  Little  was 
somewhat  of  a  felon  celebrity  as,  at  sixteen,  he  had  been 
the  youngest  prisoner  ever  received  into  the  prison  system. 

Yellowed  newspaper  photos  published  in  the  midsixties 
showed  Dwain  Lee  as  he  looked  at  the  time.  He  had  a 
sweet  baby  face  then,  and  a  sweeping  pompadour  with  one 
unruly  cowlick  that  brushed  the  middle  of  his  forehead. 
He  was  five  feet,  eight  inches  and  weighed  only  150 
pounds.  Those  who  kept  up  with  crime  had  found  it  was 
ahnost  impossible  to  picture  Dwain  Lee  carrying  out  the 
act  for  which  he  was  convicted:  first-degree-murder. 

The  Little  family  was  living  in  Lane  County,  Oregon,  in 
November  of  1 964,  on  rural  property.  Orla  Fay  Phipps  was 
sixteen,  a  pretty  neighbor  girl  who  lived  on  nearby  acre- 
age. Dwain  Lee  might  have  had  a  crush  on  her,  but  thus 
far  he  hadn't  indicated  it  to  his  family  or  mentioned  it  to 
any  of  his  fiiends.  He  was  also  said  to  have  had  a  thirteen- 
year-old  girlfriend. 

Dwain  was  a  poor  student  who  had  a  serious  reading 
problem,  failing  grades,  and  an  IQ  between  89  and  94.  He 
was  not  developmentally  disabled,  but  he  was  at  the  lower 
end  of  normal.  Even  so,  he  was  captain  of  the  eighth- 
grade  football  team  and  president  of  his  class. 

He  could  be  charming  and  polite.  He  said  "sir"  and 
"ma'am."  He  was  a  pretty  good-looking  kid  who  was 
popular  with  the  girls  at  the  Springfield  Junior  Academy 
near  Eugene.  He  made  a  positive  first  impression,  and 
teachers  tried  to  help  him.  As  far  as  anyone  knew,  he 
didn't  know  Orla  Fay  Phipps  very  well  at  all. 

Dwain  Lee  spent  a  lot  of  time  in  an  orchard  near  his 
home.  He  was  a  loner  who  usually  went  there  with  his 

395 


ANN  RULE 

dog.  He  called  this  orchard  his  "second  home,"  and  he 
explored  animal  trails,  hunted,  and  watched  birds.  He  did 
hang  out  in  the  orchard  sometimes  with  an  older  cousin 
whom  he  idolized,  and  the  two  of  them  had  a  trap  line 
together. 

"Dwain  Lee  would  rather  have  had  a  quick-draw  pis- 
tol," his  cousin  said,  "than  anything  in  the  world." 

The  teenager  had  a  few  male  friendships,  but  he  termi- 
nated those  he  did  have  abruptly.  He  and  Orla  Fay's 
brother  were  close  for  a  while,  but  Dwain  walked  away 
from  that  relationship. 

Orla  Fay  Phipps  was  a  well-developed  and  very  pretty 
blonde.  She  often  wore  shorts — which  Dwain 's  sister, 
Vivian,*  thought  were  too  provocative — when  she  rode 
past  the  Littles'  property. 

"Dwain  always  went  to  his  room  when  she  showed  up," 
his  sister  said. 

On  November  2,  1964,  Orla  Fay  left  to  ride  her  horse, 
and  her  family  became  concerned  when  she  didn't  return 
home,  although  her  horse  did. 

Orla  Fay  couldn't  come  home.  She  had  been  brutally 
murdered,  although  it  was  clear  she  had  put  up  a  tremen- 
dous fight  to  live.  She  had  been  struck  on  the  head  with  a 
blunt  object,  sustaining  skull  fractures,  and  then  her  throat 
had  been  slashed  and  stabbed  several  times  with  a  very 
sharp  knife. 

Autopsy  results  proved  that  Orla  Fay  had  been  raped 
after  death. 

At  the  time  she  died,  Dwain  Lee  was  only  fifteen,  but 
both  physical  and  circumstantial  evidence  indicated  that  it 
was  he  who  killed  Orla  Fay. 

396 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

The  legal  question  after  his  arrest  for  first-degree  mur- 
der was  whether  he  should  be  tried  as  an  adult  or  as  a  juve- 
nile? After  his  arrest,  he  was  placed  first  at  the  Skipworth 
Home — a  juvenile  detention  facility — as  psychiatrists  and 
psychologists  prepared  to  evaluate  his  mental  status  and 
look  at  his  background. 

The  elder  Littles  distrusted  mental  health  professionals, 
feeling  that  they  had  been  betrayed  by  them  in  the  past, 
and  Dwain  shared  their  apprehension.  His  attorney  and 
Juvenile  caseworkers  asked  Dwain  to  get  to  know  the  doc- 
tors scheduled  to  evaluate  him  before  he  made  his  judg- 
ments. 

The  doctors  looked  first  at  the  Little  family's  back- 
ground and  interpersonal  dynamics. 

And  it  proved  to  be  a  checkered  background  for  a  boy 
of  fifteen.  His  entire  life  had  been  one  trauma  after  an- 
other. The  Little  family  was  far  from  ordinary. 

When  Dwain  was  seven,  he  was  accidentally  struck  in 
the  head  with  a  baseball  bat,  and  it  left  a  depression  in  his 
skull  that  remained  visible.  He  was  hospitalized  for  a  few 
days  and  had  to  wear  a  protective  helmet  for  five  months. 
For  several  years  after  that,  he  was  forbidden  to  participate 
in  contact  sports.  He  also  had  headaches,  and  there  was 
some  question  that  his  injury  had  caused  his  extreme  dif- 
ficulty in  spelling  and  writing. 

In  an  eftbrt  to  help  him  learn,  his  parents  had  placed 
him  in  a  Seventh  Day  Adventist  school.  Sometime  later, 
his  mother  and  sister  were  baptized  into  that  religion. 
Dwain,  however,  often  gave  the  impression  that  he  was  the 
most  religious  member  of  his  family,  attending  church 
services  and  reading  his  Bible. 

397 


ANN  RULE 

The  elder  Littles — Stone*  and  Pearl* — were  a  curious 
pair.  From  the  time  Dwain  was  born  in  1948,  their  lives 
were  marked  by  paranoia,  going  way  over  the  edge  of 
people  who  "saw  a  glass  half  empty." 

Dwain 's  father  alleged  that  he  had  been  threatened  by  a 
man  named  Si  Hopkins,*  and  Hopkins  intended  to  kill  his 
whole  family.  Stone's  brother,  Jackson,*  had  told  him  that 
Pearl  was  cheating  on  him  with  Hopkins,  and  that  Hopkins 
would  happily  kill  him  if  he  could  have  Pearl. 

Despite  frail  health.  Pearl  was  a  good-looking  woman 
and  so  was  her  daughter,  Vivian.  While  Si  Hopkins  had 
lusted  after  Pearl,  Stone's  brother,  Jackson,  was  besotted 
with  Vivian — his  stepniece.  The  objects  of  their  lust 
had  found  both  of  them  "coarse,  vulgar,  and  repulsive" 
and  had  never  wanted  anything  to  do  with  them. 

Afraid  of  both  Si  Hopkins  and  Jackson,  the  Littles  had 
lived  in  virtual  hiding.  The  children  were  taught  to  shoot  a 
gun  by  the  time  they  were  five  or  six.  A  loaded  gun  was 
kept  in  the  house  at  all  times,  they  hauled  water  in  because 
they  were  afraid  their  water  supply  might  be  poisoned,  the 
children  were  never  allowed  very  far  from  the  house  unac- 
companied, and  they  occasionally  lived  for  as  much  as  a 
year  under  assumed  names. 

Shortly  after  Dwain  was  born.  Pearl  Lee  Little  was 
charged  with  arson,  accused  of  burning  down  a  friend's 
house.  She  was  jailed  temporarily,  but  the  charges  were 
later  dropped.  Two  years  later,  the  Littles'  own  house 
burned  down  and  they  lost  everything.  Apparently,  there 
were  no  arson  investigators  who  correlated  this  to  the  ear- 
lier fire. 

In  1956,  old  records  indicate,  Stone  Little  was  shot  by  a 

398 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

foster  child,  and  he  lost  one  testicle,  part  of  his  penis,  and 
partial  use  of  his  right  leg.  Between  that  time  and  1961,  the 
Littles  reported  that  nine  of  their  cows  were  poisoned,  other 
cows  were  shot,  and  two  of  their  dogs  were  poisoned. 
Someone — apparently  the  mysterious  Si  Hopkins — had 
deliberately  felled  a  tree  on  Dwain's  father,  cripplmg  him 
for  life,  and  that  was  followed  by  yet  another  mysterious 
fire  that  destroyed  $32,000  worth  of  their  logging  equip- 
ment. 

Stone  Little  cried  as  he  described  his  misfortunes  to  a 
Lane  County  social  worker,  and  explained  why  it  was  no 
wonder  that  his  family  had  lived  in  fear  for  years. 

Stone  was  committed  to  Eastern  State  Hospital  in 
Washington  State  in  1961  after  he  shot  his  brother,  Jack- 
son, fatally.  He  was  diagnosed  as  criminally  insane  with 
"paranoid  reaction,  paranoid  state." 

Some  versions  of  the  Little  family  history  say  that  it 
was  Jackson  who  shot  Stone  in  his  genitals,  and  not  a 
"foster  child"  at  all. 

Whether  all  of  this  bizarre  series  of  events  actually  oc- 
curred, state  workers  didn't  know.  They  wrote,  "Regard- 
less of  the  source,  it  has  been  experienced  by. all  of  this 
family  as  real." 

Jackson  Little  was  shot  to  death,  and  Stone  had  been 
committed,  and  for  a  spate  of  time  there  was  relative  peace 
in  the  family.  But  two  years  later,  Stone  Little  escaped 
from  Eastern  State  Hospital,  gathered  his  family  together, 
and  fled  to  Tennessee.  He  was  arrested  and  jailed  there, 
awaiting  extradition  to  Washington  State,  but  nothing 
came  of  that  and  he  was  freed! 

Dwain  Lee  was  glad;  he  hated  the  time  he  spent  in 

399 


ANN  RULE 

Medical  Lake,  Washington.  Being  the  son  of  a  patient  of 
the  mental  hospital  brought  a  stigma  with  it,  and  he  was 
taunted  by  schoolmates.  He  didn't  like  Tennessee  much, 
either.  But  most  of  all,  he  said  he  had  missed  his  father. 

The  Little  family  had  moved  to  Oregon  to  start  over  in 
1964. 

Somewhat  ironically,  a  social  worker  assessing  the 
family  that  November  wrote  with  vast  understatement: 
"The  family  reports  that  the  past  year  in  Oregon  has  been 
the  most  secure,  happiest  year  of  their  lives.  Since  being 
shot  and  having  a  tree  fall  on  him,  Mr.  Little  has  been 
handicapped  with  a  lame  leg  and  has  experienced  consid- 
erable recurrent  pain  but  rarely  complains  and  has  man- 
aged to  hold  a  steady  job." 

Dwain  Lee's  mother.  Pearl,  had  her  health  problems,  too. 
She  told  a  court  worker  that,  before  she  married  Stone  in 
1 946,  she  had  suffered  from  childhood  arthritis  which  de- 
veloped into  Legg-Calve-Perthes  syndrome  in  her  hip.  She 
was  hospitalized  when  she  was  ten  and  was  placed  in  a  body 
cast  and  traction  for  nine  months.  When  she  was  released, 
she  had  to  wear  a  brace  from  her  armpits  to  one  foot,  to 
keep  her  affected  leg  stiff.  This  went  on  for  several  years. 

When  Pearl  became  pregnant  with  her  daughter,  Viv- 
ian, she  had  to  wear  a  brace  again,  and  recalled  that  she 
was  paralyzed  for  some  time  after  Vivian's  birth.  When 
she  was  expecting  Dwain,  she  had  had  a  kidney  infection. 
Throughout  her  life,  she'd  undergone  several  surgeries  for 
"female  problems"  and  "tumors"  and  was  on  crutches 
when  Dwain  Lee  was  arrested. 

According  to  her  family,  Pearl  Little  never  complained 
either. 

400 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

Pearl  grew  up  on  a  farm  in  Arkansas  and  had  only  a 
third-grade  education,  although  she  could  read  quite  well. 
She  was  self-educated  and  "small,  friendly,  outgoing," 
according  to  her  interviewer. 

Pearl  told  social  workers  that  her  family  "is  my  whole 
life.  All  the  threats  and  tragedies  we've  suffered  have  just 
brought  us  closer  together  than  families  usually  are." 

Vivian  was  not  Stone's  child,  but  he  had  accepted  her, 
and  they  didn't  tell  her  about  her  real  parentage  until  she 
was  sixteen. 

Pearl  admitted  that  she  had  always  felt  closer  to  Dwain 
than  to  "Vivi,"  probably  because  her  daughter  was  rebel- 
lious. According  to  Vivian,  Dwain  always  did  what  their 
parents  said. 

Pearl  outright  spoiled  and  babied  Dwain,  and  people 
said  he  was  tied  to  her  by  her  apron  strings.  She  gave  him 
a  baby  bottle  until  he  was  four  years  old.  He  recalled  car- 
rying it  in  his  hip  pocket  until  he  got  disgusted  with  it  and 
threw  it  away.  Pearl  never  allowed  Dwain  to  be  away  from 
her  for  any  length  of  time,  and  had  an  anxiety  attack  when 
they  were  once  separated  for  a  whole  week.  The  Littles 
never  left  their  children  with  babysitters. 

Dwain,  "the  good  child,"  obviously  hadn't  done  well 
with  all  the  "smother  love"  and  the  constant  threat  that 
some  sort  of  disaster  might  be  just  around  the  corner. 
Whatever  feelings  of  resentment  and  inappropriate 
thoughts  he  might  have  held  were  hidden  deep  within  him 
until  that  day  in  November  when  he  found  himself  alone 
with  Orla  Fay. 

With  Dwain  under  arrest  for  first-degree  murder  and 
locked  away  in  detention,  his  mother  was  beside  herself 

401 


ANN  RULE 

with  worry.  She  visited  him  whenever  she  was  allowed  to, 
and  correction  workers  noted  that  not  only  did  he  kiss  her 
hello  and  good-bye,  they  exchanged  kisses  frequently  all 
during  their  visits. 

Their  physical  connection  didn't  seem  normal;  Pearl 
asked  her  son,  who  was  now  sixteen,  to  sit  on  her  lap,  and 
she  held  his  hand,  ruffled  his  hair,  and  even  caressed  his 
leg.  Observers  saw  that  this  was  sexually  arousing  for  him, 
which  embarrassed  him — especially  when  the  other  boys 
in  the  unit  teased  him  about  it. 

(This  inappropriate  behavior  between  mother  and  son 
was  also  noted  in  psychiatric  studies  of  Gary  Ridgway,  the 
Green  River  serial  killer,  who  confessed  to  more  than  four 
dozen  murders  of  young  women.) 

Dwain  Lee  seemed  to  see  himself  as  an  extension  of  his 
parents;  he  told  them  everything  he  thought  and  felt,  even 
to  the  point  that  he  shared  sexual  jokes  with  his  mother. 

But  he  told  psychologists  that  he  was  closer  to  his 
father  than  his  mother.  While  his  affect  was  almost  always 
flat  and  without  empathy  for  other  people's  feelings,  he 
cried  when  his  father  had  to  leave  Lane  County  to  find 
work. 

His  reactions  to  other  situations  were  strange.  When  he 
had  entered  detention,  having  been  charged  with  murder 
a  few  hours  earlier,  he  was  smiling  and  friendly,  seem- 
ingly oblivious  to  what  would  have  shocked  most  teenag- 
ers. A  few  days  later,  a  detective  came  to  the  detention 
facility  to  interrogate  Dwain  about  Orla  Fay's  murder.  He 
showed  Dwain  a  color  photo  of  the  nude  dead  girl, 
marred  by  blood  and  terrible  wounds,  and  said,  "You  did 
that!  Look  what  you  did!" 

402 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

The  detective  was  shouting  and  could  be  heard  at  the 
far  end  of  the  corridor.  He  next  showed  Dwain  a  knife  that 
was  identical  to  one  the  teenager  owned,  but  Dwain  calmly 
denied  any  connection  to  the  homicide. 

When  the  investigator  left  the  interview  room,  Dwain 
shook  hands  with  him  and  thanked  him.  He  was  com- 
pletely unruffled  and  said  the  detective  was  only  doing 
his  job. 

And  when  he  was  told  that  his  parents  and  grandpar- 
ents were  selling  almost  everything  they  owned  to  pay 
for  his  defense,  he  appeared  to  have  no  emotional 
response.  He  simply  changed  the  subject  and  didn't  seem 
to  understand  that  this  was  a  crisis  for  his  closest  family 
members. 

He  seemed  more  an  automaton  or  a  robot  than  a  human 
being— unfailingly  polite  and  saying  whatever  he  thought 
would  please  people,  but  without  any  feeling  at  all. 

He  told  his  parents  the  kinds  of  things  that  most  teen- 
age boys  would  share  with  each  other — but  he  had  no 
male  friends.  There  was  one  thing,  however,  that  Dwain 
Lee  Little  didn't  tell  either  parent.  He  would  not  confess  to 
killing  Orla  Fay  Phipps. 

Stone  Little  told  Dwain  that  if  he  was  guilty  of  killing 
Orla  Fay,  he  should  reveal  it  to  him,  and  Stone  would  see 
that  he  got  away  and  would  never  be  found. 

Pearl  Little  announced  that  although  she  might  have 
some  questions  about  Dwain  Lee's  innocence  in  the  mur- 
der of  Orla  Fay  Phipps,  she  wouldn't  believe  any  evidence 
against  him  as  long  as  he  said  he  wasn't  guilty.  She 
believed  in  her  "perfect  boy." 

Pearl  wore  blinders  a  lot,  and  she  clearly  did  not  like 

403 


ANN  RULE 

conflict  of  any  kind,  wanting  only  to  please  and  win  the 
approval  of  others. 

"When  Stone  and  I  argue,  we  always  try  to  make  up 
before  bed,"  she  said.  "Stone,  he  kind  of  withdraws  into 
himself  when  there's  a  problem  and  cuts  himself  off  from 
people.  I  just  feel  hurt  real  easy  and  I  want  to  make  up 
quick." 

While  he  was  in  detention,  Dwain  worked  hard  to  im- 
press the  adults  in  charge.  Like  his  mother,  he  seemed  to 
thrive  on  approval  and  shrink  from  criticism.  He  would 
take  on  jobs  that  other  inmates  wouldn't  do,  and  he  was  a 
tattletale,  reporting  any  misbehavior  among  the  other 
boys.  Some  supervisors  found  him  "almost  self-righteous" 
at  times,  but  most  adults  who  met  him  viewed  Dwain  as  an 
"innocent  child"  caught  up  in  something  he  didn't  under- 
stand. This  was  especially  true  of  women,  who  tended  to 
dote  on  the  handsome  teenager. 

Dwain  had  his  supporters  who  vowed  he  was  inno- 
cent— that  he  couldn't  do  such  a  thing  as  had  happened  to 
Orla  Fay.  His  girlfriend,  now  fourteen,  wrote  to  him  regu- 
larly and  tried  to  get  authorities  to  let  her  visit  him.  Her 
mother  liked  Dwain,  too,  and  their  family  had  put  up 
$1,500  to  help  pay  for  his  attorney. 


As  part  of  his  pretrial  evaluation,  Dwain  was  interviewed 
after  being  injected  with  sodium  pentothal  (truth  serum). 
His  attorney  agreed  to  that  if  no  one  was  present  with 
Dwain  except  the  psychiatrist  and  one  other  physician. 
Results  would  be  given  to  both  the  district  attorney  and 
the  Defense,  and  to  the  judge. 

404 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

Dr.  George  Saslow  of  the  University  of  Oregon  Medi- 
cal School  was  given  a  list  of  questions  on  December  28, 
1 964,  to  try  to  find  answers. 


Who  was  Dwain  Lee  Little? 

LA  description  of  Dwain  Lee's  personality. 

2.  Is  the  nature  of  his  personality  such  that  it  would 
permit  the  commission  of  this  kind  of  crime? 

3.  Would  a  person  with  his  kind  of  personality  be  more 
likely  to  commit  this  kind  of  crime  than  a  person 
with  a  different  mind  or  personality? 

4.  How  disturbed  is  Dwain  at  this  time? 

5.  Are  treatment  facilities  available  in  Oregon  today 

[1964]  adequate  for  the  restoration  to  community 
life  within  five  years  of  persons  found  to  have 
committed  a  crime  such  as  charged  in  this  case? 

6.  How  long  would  a  course  of  treatment  in  an 
institution  usually  require  most  people  such  as  this 
to  [be  safe  to  release  into]  the  community? 

7.  Would  people  who  have  committed  crimes  such  as 
this  usually  require  lifetime  supervision? 

8.  How  likely  is  a  person  to  commit  such  a  crime  again 
if  he  does  not  receive  treatment? 


In  retrospect,  it  was  an  impossible  task.  Who  could 
possibly  know  what  Dwain  Lee  Little  might  be  capable  of, 
or,  indeed,  if  he  was  truly  insane  under  the  M'Naughton 
Rule? 

In  the  end,  a  grand  jury  handed  down  an  indictment 

405 


ANN  RULE 

charging  Dwain  as  an  adult.  The  jury  at  his  trial  handed 
down  a  verdict  of  guilty  of  first-degree  murder,  and  he  was 
sentenced  to  life  in  prison. 

On  February  11,1 966,  Dwain  Lee  Little  became  the 
youngest  prisoner  ever  to  enter  the  Oregon  State  Peniten- 
tiary in  Salem. 

He  made  headlines  for  a  while,  and  then  most  of  the 
Oregon  public  forgot  about  him,  reassured  by  the  "life" 
sentence. 

Dwain  was  first  assigned  to  the  prison's  garment  fac- 
tory, where  he  was  under  very  close  supervision  by  the 
staff  and  was  also  watched  over  by  older  inmates.  Appar- 
ently, there  were  enough  men  who  were  truly  concerned 
about  the  safety  of  a  young  and  handsome  inmate  that  he 
was  not  sexually  exploited  by  predatory  convicts.  He 
attended  group-therapy  sessions  and  appeared  to  be  bene- 
fiting from  them. 

After  his  first  year  in  prison,  advisers  in  the  prison  con- 
vinced him  to  go  to  school.  He  continued  attending  classes 
in  the  Upward  Bound  program  until  1968. 

"The  reports  of  his  activities  and  his  attempts  to  help 
himself  were  excellent,"  one  unit  manager  wrote. 

In  1972,  he  worked  as  a  clerk  in  the  Group  Living  cap- 
tain's office,  and  joined  the  "Lifers'  Club."  He  was  more 
sure  of  himself  and  relaxed,  and  corrections  officers  felt 
"his  self-image  was  improving  greatly." 

Now  he  was  permitted  to  go  on  "outside  trips"  with  the 
Lifers'  Club.  "I  have  gone  on  trips  with  him,"  a  prison 
staff  member  noted,  "specifically  to  observe  his  relation- 
ship with  women.  He  treated  all  persons  with  respect  and 
understanding. 

406 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

"Little  has  learned  to  live  with  his  remembrance  of  the 
antisocial  behavior  of  his  parents,  of  the  rejection  by  his 
peers  and  others  in  the  areas  where  he  resided.  I've 
watched  him  change  from  a  somewhat  cocky  and  bewil- 
dered young  man  into  still  a  young  man — but  one  who  has 
a  high  level  of  social  awareness  and  of  his  responsibility 
toward  maintaining  his  place  in  society.  I  am  certain  of  his 
remorse  for  the  offense  that  he  committed  and  the  girl  he 
killed.  I  would  welcome  him  as  a  next-door  neighbor." 

Many  people  who  had  met  Dwain  Lee  in  the  eight 
years  he  spent  in  prison  felt  he  was  a  prime  example  of  a 
young  man  who  would  never  return  to  captivity;  instead, 
they  expected  him  to  become  a  good  citizen.  He  had  been 
on  scores  of  supervised  trips  outside  the  walls  and  never 
caused  any  trouble. 

They  recommended  him  for  work  release.  He  was  trans- 
ferred to  the  Portland  Men's  Center  on  February  6,  1974, 
and  began  work  at  a  concrete  products  plant,  where  he 
made  $2.50  an  hour  and  received  glowing  evaluations. 

He  was  allowed  four  passes  to  Portland  homes,  all  of 
them  sponsored  by  his  mother  and  his  sister.  And  on  May 
24,  1974,  Dwain  was  released  on  parole.  He  was,  of 
course,  forbidden  to  carry  any  deadly  weapon,  and  would 
not  be  allowed  to  enter  Lane  County — where  he  had  killed 
Orla  Fay  Phipps — or  adjoining  Benton  County. 

By  the  fall  of  1 974,  Stone  and  Pearl  had  moved  to  Jack- 
son County,  and  Dwain  was  living  in  Jacksonville.  He  was 
doing  well  as  a  warehouseman  for  a  steel  company  in 
Medford,  earning  $4.75  an  hour  and  reporting  regularly  to 
his  parole  officer.  He  spent  a  lot  of  his  free  time  on  the 
Applegate  River,  swimming  and  visiting  friends.  Although 

407 


ANN  RULE 

his  parole  officer  wasn't  happy  about  some  of  those 
friends  and  counseled  him  continually  about  the  trouble 
they  might  bring  him,  Dwain  didn't  seem  to  listen. 

"Little's  only  apparent  problem  at  this  time,"  the  PO 
wrote  on  September  3,  1974,  "appears  to  be  that  he  is  not 
very  discerning  of  people  around  him  and  is  too  anxious 
to  accommodate  others'  needs  and  wants  above  his  own." 

As  he  wrote  that,  it  was  Tuesday,  the  day  after  Labor 
Day,  and  the  Cowden  family  had  been  missing  approxi- 
mately forty-eight  hours. 

And  Dwain 's  parents  lived  in  the  area  where  they'd  dis- 
appeared. 

When  the  Oregon  State  Police  investigators  and  the 
Jackson  County  sheriff's  detectives  learned  that  Dwain 
Little  had  been  in  the  Copper  area  at  approximately  the 
same  time  the  Cowdens  had  vanished,  they  located  him  at 
his  parents'  home  and  questioned  him.  He  denied  any 
knowledge  of  the  Cowden  family,  said  he  didn't  know 
them,  had  never  seen  them,  and  had  no  idea  what  might 
have  happened  to  them. 

Dwain  Little  was  only  one  of  scores  of  people  they 
talked  to.  His  prison  and  work  release  record  were  spot- 
less, and  they  could  find  nothing  substantive  that  might 
link  him  to  the  crimes. 

Dwain  Lee  and  his  girlfriend,  Roxanne  Feeney,*  were 
living  with  his  parents  during  the  summer  of  1974.  Rox- 
anne had  a  secret  that  she  chose  not  to  tell  anyone.  She  had 
seen  Dwain  with  a  .22-caliber  gun  and  knew  he  wasn't  sup- 
posed to  have  access  to  firearms.  However,  after  Christmas, 
she  discovered  that  Dwain  was  cheating  on  her  with 
another  woman,  and  she  told  police  that  she  had  personally 

408 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

observed  him  with  the  .22  pistol  and  seen  him  load  it,  and 
that  they  had  used  it  for  target  shooting  together. 

Dwain's  parole  was  suspended  on  January  12,  1975, 
and  revoked  completely  in  May.  He  had  been  out  of  prison 
for  one  year — less  one  day — when  he  went  back  into  the 
Oregon  State  Pen  on  May  23,  1975. 

Once  more,  he  set  about  convincing  the  authorities  that 
he  had  changed.  And  that  was  one  of  his  talents — the  "lac- 
quer coating"  that  one  psychiatrist  had  described,  smooth 
and  impenetrable.  He  got  his  old  job  as  a  clerk  back,  and, 
again,  he  was  a  model  prisoner. 

Dwain  Lee  was  married  now,  and  he  had  a  wife,  Linda,* 
waiting  for  him  on  the  outside.  He  first  tried  to  get  paroled 
to  California,  but  that  state  refused  responsibility  for  him, 
and  he  also  considered  Idaha — but  he  finally  submitted  a 
request  to  be  paroled  to  his  wife's  parents'  home  near  Hills- 
boro,  Oregon.  He  had  a  job  waiting  for  him  with  a  potato- 
chip  company;  he  never  had  trouble  finding  work. 

It  was  surprising  how  many  corrections  officers  backed 
Dwain's  parole.  He  had  made  a  positive  impression  on 
them,  and  they  failed  to  see  who  was  behind  the  mask  he 
presented  to  the  world.  He'd  always  been  clever  at  hiding 
his  emotions,  and  after  more  than  a  decade  in  prison,  he 
had  become  extremely  con- wise. 

Oregon  State  Prison  Warden  Hoyt  Cupp  was  not  among 
those  who  believed  that  Dwain  Little  was  no  longer  a  dan- 
ger to  the  community,  nor  were  many  of  the  psychiatrists 
who  had  examined  him  over  the  years.  However,  they  had 
not  considered  him  psychotic — except  perhaps  when  cir- 
cumstances made  him  explode. 

"A  person  who  is  so  unknown  to  himself  emotionally," 

409 


ANN  RULE 

Dr.  Saslow  wrote,  "generally  gives  others  no  signals  that 
he  is  about  to  lose  emotional  control,  and  he  may  lose  it 
quickly." 

One  psychiatrist  thought  that  the  only  chance  of  heal- 
ing whatever  was  wrong  with  Dwain  Little  would  be  for  a 
mental  health  therapist  to  spend  "quantities  of  undemand- 
ing love  for  the  long  time  that  it  would  take  to  convince 
him  that  it  was  not  a  trap  .  .  .  Without  therapy,  the  outlook 
is  dark." 

Most  of  the  others  feared  there  was  no  treatment  that 
would  work — inside  prison  walls  or  out.  He  seemingly 
had  no  conscience  or  empathy,  and  was  far  more  likely  to 
kill  again  than  were  most  prisoners  who  had  gone  to  jail 
for  murder. 

He  was  paroled  for  the  second  time  on  April  26,  1977. 
He  now  had  more  "special  conditions"  attached  to  his 
parole.  He  had  to  become  involved  in  a  mental  health 
treatment  program  (at  the  discretion  of  his  parole  offi- 
cer), he  could  not  associate  with  known  felons,  he  could 
not  enter  Lane  or  Jackson  counties  without  his  PO's  per- 
mission, and  he  would  maintain  an  independent  living 
situation. 

He  had  had  the  same  parole  officer  for  years,  and  the 
man  never  lost  faith  in  him.  Although  Dwain  would  be  liv- 
ing and  working  hundreds  of  miles  north  of  Jackson 
County,  his  parole  officer  would  remain  in  charge  of  his 
case. 

For  over  three  years,  Dwain  Little  evaded  the  eye  of  the 
law. 


410 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

In  the  Tigard-Beaverton-Lake  Oswego  area  south  of  Port- 
land, on  the  morning  of  Monday,  June  2,  1980,  Margie 
Hunter,*  twenty -three,  got  up  early  to  look  for  a  job.  She 
had  been  employed  at  a  company  named  Metalcraft  but 
was  temporarily  laid  off.  She  also  needed  to  pick  up  a 
check  for  two  weeks'  pay  at  Metalcraft's  employment  divi- 
sion. 

Because  the  dark  clouds  overhead  looked  more  like 
March  than  June,  Margie  drove  her  twelve-year-old  white 
Karmann  Ghia,  even  though  she'd  been  having  some  trou- 
ble with  it.  Her  life  was  in  a  state  of  flux;  she  needed  to 
find  a  smaller  apartment,  and  she  suspected  that  she  might 
be  pregnant.  If  she  was,  she  felt  she  couldn't  be  more  than 
a  month  along.  She  was  happy  about  the  pregnancy,  al- 
though surprised. 

Afl;er  she  finished  her  errands,  Margie  visited  a  girl- 
friend, leaving  at  about  three  p.m.  She  passed  through 
Tigard  and  had  made  it  onto  Old  Highway  99  when  her 
car  broke  down.  The  gas  pedal  had  broken  off.  Discour- 
aged, she  pulled  over  to  the  side  of  the  road,  turned  on  her 
flashing  lights  because  it  was  almost  as  dark  as  dusk  with 
the  threatening  storm,  and  got  out  to  walk  to  a  phone 
booth. 

She  was  having  a  really  bad  day,  and  then  the  sky 
opened  up  and  hail  bounced  on  the  road  and  on  her.  A 
hitchhiker  ran  up  behind  her  and  offered  her  a  jacket  he 
had  in  his  orange  backpack.  She  accepted  it  thankfully. 
He  was  a  little  taller  than  she  was,  and  he  looked  like  a 
lot  of  hitchhikers:  brown  curly  hair,  mustache,  beard,  and 
glasses. 

She  wasn't  afraid  of  him. 

411 


ANN  RULE 

The  pair  bent  their  heads  and  started  trotting  toward 
shelter  as  the  hail  continued  to  pelt  them. 

At  that  point,  another  Good  Samaritan  came  along.  The 
driver  of  a  blue  Honda  Civic  stopped  and  waved  at  them  to 
get  in.  They  didn't  hesitate,  and  still  Margie  felt  safe,  more 
so  when  she  settled  in  the  backseat  and  realized  she  recog- 
nized the  driver.  She  didn't  actually  know  him  or  even  his 
name,  but  he  had  worked  at  Metalcraft,  too,  on  the  day 
shift  as  she  did.  That  had  been  during  the  fall  months  of 
1979.  He  was  a  "grinder." 

She  asked  him  to  drop  her  off  at  the  next  phone  booth 
they  came  to,  and  he  nodded.  She  noticed  that  his  car  was 
only  a  year  or  so  old,  but  it  was  dirty  and  filled  with  trash: 
fast-food  containers,  old  newspapers,  cigarette  butts. 

They  soon  came  to  a  phone  booth  by  a  Catholic  school, 
and  Margie  got  out.  The  driver  said  he  would  take  the 
hitchhiker  on  the  few  miles  to  King  City,  his  destination. 

Margie  called  her  mother,  who  wasn't  home,  and  a 
male  friend  who  didn't  answer,  either.  She  was  out  of 
change,  so  she  walked  a  little  farther  to  a  gas  station,  got 
change,  and  tried  calling  her  mom  and  more  friends. 
Nobody  was  home.  She  gave  up,  crossed  the  highway,  and 
started  walking  back  toward  her  car.  Even  if  it  wouldn't 
start,  she  wasn't  that  far  from  her  apartment. 

The  hail  had  stopped,  but  it  was  raining  hard  when  she 
saw  the  blue  Honda  approaching  from  the  south.  The 
hitchhiker  was  no  longer  in  the  car,  and  the  driver  pulled 
over  in  front  of  her  and  offered  her  a  ride  again. 

She'd  seen  him  at  Metalcraft,  and  he'd  let  her  out  read- 
ily at  the  phone  booth  twenty  minutes  earlier.  He  seemed 


412 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

safe.  She  got  in,  telling  him  she  hadn't  been  able  to  reach 
anyone  to  pick  her  up. 

He  didn't  talk  much,  but  he  told  her  he'd  give  her  a  ride 
home. 

"He  asked  me  where  I  lived,"  Margie  recalled.  "And  I 
told  him.  I  told  him  where  to  turn  into  my  driveway,  but  he 
went  right  past  it.  As  soon  as  he  went  past  it,  he  said, 
'Oh — well,  I'll  turn  around  and  come  back.'  But  he  never 
did,  and  I  kept  telling  him  to  turn  off  on  streets,  so  he 
could  go  back,  but  I  thought  he  was  just  going  around  the 
whole  street  to  take  me  back.  And  he  never  said  any  words 
after  that." 

Margie  realized  that  she  didn't  know  him  at  all.  He  was 
a  stranger,  and  he  had  no  intention  of  taking  her  home. 

"Then  he  asked  me  if  I  was  smart,"  Margie  continued. 
"And  I  said  I  tried  to  be.  Then  he  pulled  out  this  switch- 
blade, and  he  said,  'Then  you'll  do  what  I  want  you  to  do.'" 

She  thought  the  knife  was  a  switchblade;  it  was  black 
and  shiny  and  about  eight  inches  long.  It  had  been  right 
there  underneath  his  seat. 

Margie  told  him  she  was  pregnant,  and  begged  him  not 
to  hurt  her. 

"Well,  then  you  think  about  your  baby,"  he  sneered,  "and 
you'll  do  as  I  tell  you  to." 

They  were  heading  away  from  her  apartment  now — 
toward  Tigard  and  Tualatin,  and  onto  an  overpass  over  the 
1-5  freeway  toward  Lake  Oswego,  and  then  back  again 
onto  the  freeway.  The  driver  demanded  that  Margie  fellate 
him,  and  she  complied.  She  wanted  to  live,  and  she  would 
do  what  she  had  to  do. 


413 


ANN  RULE 

He  asked  if  she  could  "stomach  if  if  he  ejaculated  into 
her  mouth,  and  she  said  no,  and  he  said  she  didn't  have  to. 

That  was  odd,  because  he  had  been  so  mean  before. 

Now  she  felt  the  car  turn  again,  and  she  saw  that  they 
were  about  to  head  northeast  on  Highway  205  toward  Or- 
egon City.  She  asked  him  where  they  were  going,  and  he 
told  her  he  was  looking  for  a  place  where  he  could  take 
her  off  the  side  of  the  road  where  no  one  could  see  them. 
He  gave  her  strict  instructions:  she  was  to  get  out  of  the 
car  on  the  driver's  side  and  hold  his  hand  as  if  they  were  a 
couple. 

They  had  barely  left  the  off-ramp  on  a  winding  road 
with  sharp  turns  when  he  pulled  over.  She  followed  his  in- 
structions, noting  that  he  had  hidden  the  long  knife  under 
his  sweater.  He  pulled  her  up  the  hill  into  a  grove  of  trees. 

She  was  trying  to  remember  everything  about  him  so 
she  could  tell  the  police  later.  He  was  medium  height, 
chubby,  clean-shaven,  and  wore  blue  jeans,  the  gray  pull- 
over sweater,  and  black  work  boots. 

Her  memory  was  as  clear  as  ice.  She  thought  of  every- 
thing she  could,  to  get  through  the  sexual  attack  that  began 
too  far  above  the  freeway  for  anyone  in  the  cars  below  to 
see.  He  made  her  take  off  her  brown  turtleneck  T-shirt,  her 
orange  sweater,  blue  jeans,  and  blue  high-heeled  sandals, 
and  then  her  bra  and  panties.  She  wished  devoutly  that  she 
had  worn  her  Nikes — she  would  be  able  to  run  so  much 
better  if  she  got  the  chance. 

Her  captor  wanted  romance,  and  he  insisted  she  French- 
kiss  him  and  respond  to  him.  But  she  was  terrified  and 
filled  with  revulsion,  and  she  couldn't  respond.  He  was 
unable  to  enter  her  because  her  vagina  was  absolutely  dry. 

414 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

He  asked  her  to  perform  oral  sodomy  on  him  again,  and 
she  obeyed. 

When  nothing  worked,  he  masturbated  to  ejaculation. 

Margie  feU  a  glimmer  of  hope  when  he  told  her  to  get 
dressed.  He  was  going  to  let  her  go! 

She  bent  over  to  put  her  shoes  on,  and  he  held  out  his 
hand  to  help  her  up.  She  grasped  it,  and  suddenly  he  was 
behind  her,  holding  her  throat  in  an  arm  lock.  Then  his 
hands  were  grasping  both  sides  of  her  neck,  and  she  saw 
black  clouds  descending  on  her. 

Margie  passed  out.  She  didn't  remember  anything  until 
she  came  to,  feeling  as  if  she  were  suffocating  in  the  dark. 
She  first  thought  she  was  dreaming.  But,  finally,  she  real- 
ized that  her  sweater  was  wrapped  around  her  head.  She 
tried  to  pull  it  off  with  her  right  hand,  but  she  couldn't  feel 
her  right  hand  at  all.  She  used  her  left  hand,  although  it  felt 
terribly  weak. 

"It  took  five  minutes  for  me  to  get  my  sweater  down 
from  over  my  head,"  Margie  said.  "And  then  I  tried  sitting 
up,  but  I  was  too  weak." 

At  that  point,  she  saw  her  right  hand  and  realized  it  was 
slashed,  her  wrist  cut  almost  halfway  through. 

The  man  who  had  hurt  her  was  gone,  but  he  had  pulled 
her  into  a  blackberry  thicket,  virtually  hiding  her. 

Margie  knew  she  had  to  get  help  before  she  bled  to 
death.  She  tried  to  move  her  legs  and  discovered  she  could 
not  feel  her  left  leg.  She  took  off  her  shoes.  "I  knew  I  had 
to  walk  out  of  there,  and  I  tried  to  stand,  but  I  couldn't," 
she  said. 

She  couldn't  use  her  right  hand,  and  she  couldn't  feel 
her  left  leg — but  she  began  to  crawl  out  of  the  trees  and 

415 


ANN  RULE 

brambles  that  hid  her.  Because  of  her  injured  right  hand, 
she  scuttled  on  her  shoulder  on  that  side  in  a  crablike 
movement.  She  made  it  to  the  top  of  the  grassy  bank,  and 
when  she  couldn't  crawl  anymore,  she  rolled. 

"I  kept  that  up  until  I  could  get  where  the  grass  was  cut 
down  and  people  could  see  me.  And  I  kept  waving  to 
them,  and  about  fifteen  or  twenty  cars  went  by  before 
someone  finally  stopped,"  Margie  said.  "By  then  I  couldn't 
wave  anymore;  I  was  just  laying  [sic]  on  the  ground.  I 
couldn't  move  anymore." 

The  Tualatin  Valley  Fire  Department  responded  to  the 
911  call,  and  EMTs  found  Margie  barely  conscious  and 
bleeding  profusely.  She  was  rushed  to  Meridian  Park  Hos- 
pital in  Tualatin,  where  she  was  admitted  in  critical  condi- 
tion. Oregon  State  Trooper  Les  Frank  went  directly  to  the 
hospital.  Dr.  Michael  McCleskey  told  him  that  the  victim 
had  bruises  and  swelling  in  her  neck,  a  stab  wound  at  the 
base  of  her  skull  on  the  rear  right  side,  deep  lacerations — 
including  tendons  and  nerves — in  her  right  wrist,  and 
deep  cuts  to  the  nerves  and  tendons  of  her  left  ankle. 

When  she  arrived,  she  had  virtually  no  blood-pressure 
readings  and  had  lost  one-third  to  one-half  of  the  blood  in 
her  body.  She  would  need  surgery  to  get  blood  to  her  right 
hand  and  her  left  leg,  and  there  would  be  nerve  damage  to 
repair  later.  For  the  moment,  they  had  to  stabilize  her  con- 
dition before  they  could  operate. 

Amazingly,  she  was  now  conscious  and  quite  lucid,  and 
Trooper  Frank  could  interview  her.  A  Clackamas  County 
deputy — Robert  W.  Smith — happened  to  pass  by  where 
she  had  waited  for  an  ambulance,  and  had  spoken  briefly 
to  her.  Margie  wanted  to  be  sure  that  the  police  knew  who 

416 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

had  raped,  stabbed,  and  strangled  her.  She  had  gasped  out 
details  to  Smith,  too. 

She  told  Frank  that  her  attacker  was  a  short,  heavy 
white  male  with  close-cut  dark  brown  hair.  He  was  in  his 
thirties  and  driving  a  new-model  two-door  blue  Honda 
Civic. 

The  best  news  of  all  for  the  Oregon  State  investigator 
was  Margie  Hunter's  absolute  belief  that  her  rapist  had 
worked  at  Metalcraft,  where  she  worked.  She  was  positive. 

Dwain  Lee  Little  had  made  a  huge  mistake  when  he 
chose  Margie  Hunter  as  a  victim.  She  said  they  had  even 
talked  about  working  there.  He  could  have  simply  taken 
her  home,  but  he  must  have  planned  to  kill  her  all  along, 
knowing  that  she  could  identify  him. 

One  thing  Margie  commented  on  was  that  her  captor 
seemed  to  have  "no  feelings  at  all."  He  didn't  care  about 
her  baby,  her  life,  about  anything  but  what  he  wanted. 
Trying  to  get  through  to  him  was  like  pleading  with  a 
robot. 

Dr.  McCleskey  categorized  Margie's  wounds  as  "devas- 
tating." They  had  to  get  blood  to  her  wrist  and  her  ankle. 
Along  with  Drs.  Tongue  and  Bamhouse,  the  surgeons  iso- 
lated the  severed  tendons  of  both  extremities,  along  with 
the  damaged  nerves.  Her  injuries  were  full  of  dirt  and 
grass,  and  these  were  all  painstakingly  irrigated  until  they 
were  clean;  antibiotics  were  given  to  prevent  infection  if 
possible. 

After  resection  of  all  the  tendons  of  her  wrist,  and  their 
grateftil  discovery  that  her  radial  artery  was  intact,  the 
doctors  felt  the  repair  was  "most  satisfactory,"  and  they 
wrapped  her  wrist  in  a  short  arm  cast. 

417 


ANN  RULE 

Next,  they  turned  to  Margie's  ankle.  There  they  found 
only  two  severed  tendons,  including  the  Achilles  tendon — 
which  was  probably  what  had  prevented  her  from  standing 
or  walking  when  she  came  back  to  consciousness  in  the 
bushes. 

The  surgeons  put  a  cast  on  Margie's  leg  and  moved  on 
to  the  two-inch-deep  neck  wound.  Fortunately,  it  wasn't  as 
dangerous  as  the  deeper  slashes  in  her  arm  and  leg.  It  was 
closed  with  sutures. 

It  took  eight  hours  of  surgery  to  perform  the  first  proce- 
dures on  Margie  Hunter's  knife  wounds.  She  came  through 
the  operations  well,  and  was  upgraded  from  "critical"  to 
"serious"  condition. 

Margie's  pregnancy  was  intact;  indeed,  when  she  was 
well  enough  to  have  a  pelvic  exam,  she  learned  that  she 
was  really  twelve  weeks  pregnant — almost  three  months. 
Whether  she  would  be  able  to  maintain  her  pregnancy  was 
still  iffy.  She  had  been  choked,  beaten,  and  cut  to  the  bone, 
and  had  lost  so  much  blood.  And  there  was  the  shock  fac- 
tor to  be  considered,  too. 

Only  time  would  tell. 


While  Margie  Hunter  was  in  surgery,  law  enforcement 
officers  in  the  Tigard-Tualatin  area  looked  for  a  new  blue 
Honda,  and  detectives  planned  to  contact  Metalcraft  in  the 
morning  to  see  if  they  could  find  the  names  of  former  em- 
ployees who  had  worked  as  grinders,  and  matched  the  de- 
scription Margie  had  given.  Workers'  parole  status  might 
or  might  not  be  known  to  the  company. 


418 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

It  turned  out  that  that  wouldn't  be  necessary.  An  Ore- 
gon state  trooper  had  pulled  over  a  blue  Honda  recently  on 
a  routine  traffic  violation.  When  he  heard  the  bulletin 
broadcast  to  all  police  agencies,  he  realized  the  descrip- 
tion matched  the  car  and  the  driver  he  had  stopped  earlier. 
He'd  recognized  the  driver  instantly:  Dwain  Lee  Little, 
who  had  become  infamous  and  familiar  in  the  minds  of 
many  Oregon  officers.  After  his  last  parole,  he  had  moved 
to  the  Tigard  area. 

Dwain  had  had  the  same  parole  officer  for  years,  a  man 
who  had  started  out  with  great  hopes  for  him.  The  PO  con- 
firmed that  Dwain  had  worked  for  Metalcraft  during  the 
fall  and  winter  of  1979.  He  promised  to  obtain  a  mug  shot 
of  Little  to  include  in  a  photo  laydown  when — and  if — 
Margie  Hunter  was  well  enough  to  look  at  it. 

At  8:00  p.m.  an  Oregon  state  trooper  spotted  the  blue 
Honda,  and  Dwain  Little  was  arrested  on  a  charge  of  at- 
tempted homicide. 

A  search  warrant  for  his  home  was  executed,  and  inves- 
tigators seized  six  knives,  several  items  of  men's  clothing, 
and  a  handwritten  log  of  his  activities.  A  subsequent  search 
produced  ten  thousand  rounds  of  .22  ammunition. 

His  parole  officer  said  Dwain  Little  had  been  on  his  lat- 
est parole  for  three  years  and  one  month  without  any  seri- 
ous problems.  He  had  seemed  to  be  an  average  citizen  and 
was  consistently  employed  at  the  Sweetheart  Corporation 
until  July  of  1979,  when  he  quit  his  job  there  because  he 
couldn't  get  along  with  a  new  supervisor.  Next,  he  moved 
to  Idaho  to  work  in  a  steel  factory  with  his  brother-in-law, 
but  that  relationship  deteriorated  after  two  months,  and  he 


419 


ANN  RULE 

came  back  to  Oregon — and  Metalcraft.  Little  was  laid  off 
because  he  sustained  a  hand  injury  that  required  surgery. 
He  had  been  unemployed  for  five  months. 

His  wife,  Linda,  had  given  birth  to  their  first  child — a 
son — only  five  weeks  before  his  vicious  attack  on  Margie 
Hunter. 

"Most  facets  of  their  everyday  life,"  D wain's  parole 
officer  said,  "were  being  met  in  an  appropriate  manner." 

Or  seemed  to  be. 

Dwain  Lee  Little  hadn't  spent  much  of  his  adult  life 
outside  prison  walls,  and  his  joblessness  and  having  a 
baby  to  care  for  might  have  caused  him  to  disintegrate  into 
violence  once  again,  although  that  explanation  was  cer- 
tainly no  excuse  for  what  he  had  done  to  Margie  Hunter. 

Dwain  was  thirty-one  now,  and  he  still  didn't  know 
who  he  was;  he  knew  only  what  he  wanted,  and,  as  always, 
he  had  seized  it.  He  was  a  mad  dog  behind  a  smiling  face, 
a  walking,  breathing  time  bomb.  Even  though  he  had  gone 
back  to  prison  before  for  having  a  deadly  weapon  in  his 
possession,  he  had  apparently  been  unable  to  give  up  guns 
and  knives.  What  on  earth  was  he  intending  to  do  with  ten 
thousand  bullets? 

It  made  the  investigators  shudder  to  think  of  it. 

Even  his  heretofore  trusting  parole  officer  recom- 
mended that  his  parole  should  be  revoked  at  once. 


Dwain  Little  was  held  in  the  Washington  County  Jail  for 
only  a  week;  in  the  interests  of  public  safety,  he  was  set  to 
be  transported  to  the  Oregon  State  Penitentiary  in  Salem 
on  June  9.  Corrections  officer  Clarence  Hedrick  and  Vir- 

420 


i 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

ginia  Wolff  of  the  Washington  County  warrants  division 
accompanied  one  female  and  two  male  prisoners — includ- 
ing Little — in  a  van  headed  south  on  the  1-5  freeway. 
Dwain  Little  and  the  other  male  prisoner  were  chained 
together  with  leg  irons,  and  they  each  wore  handcuffs 
attached  to  a  belly  chain.  , 

They  hadn't  gotten  more  than  twenty  miles  on  their 
forty-five-mile  trip  when  Dwain  said  the  jail  nurse  had 
given  him  a  diuretic  pill  that  caused  water  to  build  up  in 
his  system. 

"I  have  to  go  every  few  minutes,"  he  said,  as  he  begged 
Hedrick  to  pull  into  the  next  rest  stop. 

Hedrick  refused.  At  that  point,  Dwain  became  hysterical 
and  threatened  to  urinate  in  his  clothes  and  all  over  the  van. 

Hedrick  wasn't  happy,  but  he  stopped  at  the  rest  stop 
just  south  of  the  Tualatin  River.  He  explained  the  radio 
system  to  Ms.  Wolff,  and  told  her  to  call  for  help  if  any- 
thing untoward  should  happen,  gave  her  their  exact  loca- 
tion, and  then  locked  the  van  doors  so  no  one  could  get  in 
or  out  while  he  was  in  the  restroom  with  the  two  male 
prisoners. 

When  they  were  inside  the  restroom,  Dwain  Little  said 
he  was  getting  sick  and  his  bowels  were  loose.  He  wanted 
the  chain  around  his  waist  removed.  Using  the  extra  set  of 
handcuffs  from  his  own  belt,  Hedrick  handcuffed  Dwain's 
left  hand  to  the  bar  in  the  handicapped  stall,  and  then  re- 
moved Little's  right  hand  from  his  belly  chain,  allowing 
him  to  defecate.  When  he  was  finished,  Hedrick  put  the 
right  cuff  back  on  Little's  belly  chain. 

Hedrick  moved  to  unhook  his  left  handcuff,  but  sud- 
denly Dwain  Little  wrenched  free  of  it  and  kicked  Hedrick 

421 


ANN  RULE 

in  the  groin,  and  a  struggle  ensued.  If  both  inmates  had 
turned  on  the  corrections  officer,  he  might  well  have  been 
a  dead  man — but  the  other  prisoner  chose  to  help  Hedrick 
instead  of  Little. 

Hedrick  had  Dwain  around  the  neck  and  then  in  a  hair- 
hold  against  the  wall,  and  the  helpful  prisoner  removed 
Hedrick's  extra  handcuffs  and  snapped  them  around  both 
Little's  wrists. 

Dwain  Little  looked  at  the  other  prisoner  and  hissed, 
"You're  dead  .  .  ."  They  didn't  doubt  he  meant  the  threat, 
and  the  convict  who  had  saved  Hedrick's  life  was  soon 
housed  in  protective  custody. 

Little's  futile  escape  attempt  may  have  been  his  last 
hurrah.  He  was  now  charged  with  attempted  murder,  first- 
degree  rape,  first-degree  sodomy,  and  first-degree  kidnap- 
ping. He  initially  pleaded  not  guilty  to  all  the  charges. 
Under  a  plea  agreement,  the  sodomy  charge  was  dropped. 

On  November  11,  1980,  he  was  sentenced  to  twenty 
years  for  attempted  murder,  twenty  years  for  rape,  twenty 
years  for  kidnapping;  each  had  a  ten-year  mandatory  min- 
imum. His  terms  would  be  served  consecutively.  The  earli- 
est he  could  be  released  would  be  in  thirt>'  years,  when  he 
would  be  over  sixty  years  old. 

As  he  pronounced  sentence.  Judge  Ashmanskas  said,  'T 
find  the  case  here  are  crimes  involving  great  violence, 
bodily  harm,  extreme  cruelty,  or  callousness.  I  do  believe 
Mr.  Little  is  dangerous,  by  whatever  criteria,  whatever  for- 
mulas they  may  invoke;  I  find  that  he  is  an  unusual  risk  to 
the  safety  of  the  public — based  upon  his  psychiatric  evalu- 
ations ...  I  also  find  this  to  be  supported  by  the  nature  of 


422 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

these  particular  offenses  as  well  as  his  prior  criminal  his- 
tory. Two  victims  are  enough,  Mr.  Little,  and  I  am  not 
going  to  chance  a  third  victim." 

But  were  there  only  two  victims?  Orla  Fay,  yes.  Margie 
Hunter,  yes.  But  deputies  and  troopers  looked  closely  now 
at  the  still  unsolved  Cowden  case. 

Dwain  Lee  Little  had  long  been  the  prime  suspect  in 
the  deaths  of  Richard,  Belinda,  David,  and  Melissa 
Cowden  on  Labor  Day  weekend,  six  years  earlier.  He  was 
out  on  parole  at  that  time  and  living  with  his  parents  in 
Ruch,  Oregon — eighteen  miles  downstream  on  the  Apple- 
gate  River.  He  was  found  carrying  a  .22-caliber  pistol  a 
few  months  later  and  returned  to  prison.  The  California 
tourists  had  seen  two  men  and  a  woman  who  resembled 
the  Littles  in  the  Cowdens'  campsite  area  after  their  family 
disappeared.  Even  their  description  of  the  strange  trio's 
pickup  truck  matched  the  one  Stone  and  Pearl  owned.  An 
old  miner  who  lived  in  a  cabin  farther  up  Sturgis  Fork 
Creek  said  that  the  Little  family  had  stopped  at  his  place 
on  Monday  morning,  the  day  after  the  Cowdens  disap- 
peared. The  Littles  had  even  signed  a  guestbook  the  miner 
kept  to  remind  him  of  his  visitors. 

When  questioned,  the  Little  family  members  all  denied 
any  knowledge  of  the  Cowdens'  disappearance.  Dwain 
Lee  said  he  had  been  away  on  "business"  that  weekend  on 
the  southern  Oregon  coast,  and  had  returned  to  meet  up 
with  his  parents  for  a  trip  "into  the  mountains"  on  Sunday 
morning. 

Dwain  Little  had  refused  to  take  a  lie-detector  test.  If 
he  had,  and  if  he  passed  it,  the  charges  against  him  for 


423 


ANN  RULE 

"felon  in  possession  of  a  firearm"  would  have  been 
dropped.  But  he  had  chosen  to  go  back  to  prison  rather 
than  submit  to  a  lie-detector  test. 

Why  was  he  so  afraid  of  the  polygraph  test?  Maybe  he 
had  something  more  to  hide,  something  that  was  far  worse 
than  the  gun  charges.  ... 

The  tiny  town  of  Ruch,  where  the  Little  family  lived  in 
the  fall  of  1974,  was  the  closest  town  to  Copper.  And  yet 
when  asked  what  route  he'd  taken  from  the  Pacific  coast  to 
Ruch,  Dwain  repeatedly  said  he  took  the  road  that  did  not 
go  through  Copper,  even  though  that  would  have  been  the 
shortest  way. 

Investigators  had  seized  the  Littles'  truck  and  processed 
it  for  any  possible  evidence  linking  it  to  the  Cowdens.  They 
found  it  was  as  clean  as  if  it  had  just  rolled  off  the  produc- 
tion line  in  Detroit.  They  had  never  seen  a  tmck  so  meticu- 
lously cared  for. 

Dwain  Little  had  been  back  in  the  Oregon  State  Pen  for 
almost  a  year  when  there  seemed  to  be  a  break  in  the 
Cowden  case.  A  convict  who  had  shared  a  cell  with  Little 
sent  a  message  through  the  corrections  staif  that  he  needed 
to  talk  to  detectives. 

Rusty  Kelly*  had  a  story  to  tell.  He  swore  that  Dwain 
Little  had  admitted  to  him  that  he  was  the  one  who  killed 
the  Cowdens.  He  had  given  him  details.  Moreover,  Little 
was  spearheading  an  escape  plan  that  involved  sixteen 
prisoners.  Kelly  said  he  was  one  of  those,  but  he'd  never 
really  intended  to  follow  through.  He  offered  to  show  offi- 
cials a  cache  of  weapons  that  were  being  saved  to  use  in 
the  mass  escape. 

Jailhouse  informants  aren't  the  best  source  of  informa- 

424 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

tion,  and  they  can  be  reduced  to  mincemeat  by  defense 
attorneys,  but  the  detectives  gave  Kelly  a  polygraph  test 
regarding  the  escape  details — and  he  passed  easily.  They 
deliberately  didn't  ask  him  any  questions  on  the  Cowdens' 
massacre  during  the  lie-detector  test. 

He  led  them  to  the  hidden  arms. 

The  media  announced  that  the  grand  jury  in  Jackson 
County  would  consider  this  new  information,  and  a  "true 
bill"  indicting  Dwain  Lee  Little  in  the  four  murders  would 
be  handed  down  any  day. 

But  it  never  came. 

Lawmen  in  Jackson  County  still  had  no  physical  evi- 
dence that  would  absolutely  link  Little  to  the  murders  of  a 
family  who  met  a  monster  as  they  camped  out.  He  was  al- 
ready in  prison  for  what  would  probably  be  the  rest  of  his 
life.  Unless  he  escaped,  he  wasn't  a  danger  to  anyone — 
except,  perhaps,  to  Rusty  Kelly,  who  had  snitched  on  him. 

Today,  the  handsome,  slender  youth  of  1964  is  an  old 
man,  barely  recognizable.  He  is  overweight,  with  skin  the 
greenish  gray  of  prison  pallor,  and  thinning  hair;  the  lines 
on  his  face  have  solidified  into  a  sullen  stare.  The  charm 
he  evinced  in  his  youth  no  longer  works.  While  laymen  in 
Oregon  may  not  remember  him,  there  are  few  police  offi- 
cers— working  and  retired — who  don't  recall  him  in- 
stantly. Their  first  comment  is  always:  "Yeah,  I  remember 
him.  He's  the  one  who  killed  the  Cowden  family." 

But  that  has  never  been  proved.  The  circumstantial  evi- 
dence against  him  is  voluminous;  the  hard  evidence  is  still 
missing.  No  one  had  heard  of  DNA  matching  back  in 
1974.  Today,  there  is  nothing  left  to  use  for  comparison. 

Little  continues  to  file  requests  and  legal  papers  as  he 

425 


ANN  RULE 

still  hopes  to  be  released.  His  thirty-year  minimum  sen- 
tence is  up  in  2010,  but  there  is  no  guarantee  that  he  will 
be  paroled.  He  could  be  locked  up  until  2040,  when  he 
will  be  over  ninety  years  old. 

It  would  be  a  great  kindness  to  the  Cowdens'  extended 
family  if  Dwain  Lee  Little  would  confess  to  their  murders 
and  ask  forgiveness. 

It  might  shorten  his  sentence  somewhat,  but  it's  not  like 
him  to  confess.  He  never  really  has.  Within  his  family 
Dwain  Lee  could  do  no  wrong,  and,  as  Pearl  Little  said 
once,  "As  long  as  he  tells  me  he's  innocent,  I  will  believe 
him." 


Margie  Hunter  impressed  her  doctors  with  her  sheer  grit 
and  determination.  She  faced  many  operations,  and  even 
after  they  were  accomplished,  she  was  left  with  a  number 
of  permanent  handicaps.  Her  left  foot  and  lower  leg  had 
lost  most  of  their  sensation,  and  there  was  some  atrophy 
that  might  get  worse.  Margie's  right  hand  and  wrist  had 
been  slashed  to  the  bone,  and  with  all  the  tendons  severed, 
she  had  a  profound  lack  of  feeling  there — a  far  more  dif- 
ficult situation  in  a  hand  than  a  foot.  Her  thumb  was 
trapped  in  her  palm  because  the  muscles  at  its  base  were 
cut.  She  could  tell  the  difference  between  hot  and  cold, 
sharp  and  dull,  but  her  finer  dexterity  and  motor  skills 
would  be  compromised. 

"I  anticipate,"  one  of  her  surgeons  wrote,  "in  the  ftiture, 
she  will  become  leftrhanded  and  use  her  right  hand  only 
as  a  'helping  hand.'  " 


426 


DARK  FOREST:  DEEP  DANGER 

Margie  also  had  some  scars  that  were  not  crippling  but 
were  cosmetically  damaging. 

She  worked  hard  at  physical  therapy  to  make  her  hand 
and  leg  as  strong  as  they  could  be.  She  would  need  them 
more,  soon.  Her  baby  was  still  alive  and  well  inside  her. 
She  gave  birth  just  before  Christmas  1980. 

She  would  never  forget  Dwain  Lee  Little  or  his  cruelty, 
but  she  was  ready  to  move  ahead  with  her  life.  One  thing 
that  Margie  didn't  know  was  that  Dwain  might  have  been 
stalking  her.  A  Christmas  card  that  Metalcraft  sent  out  in 
1979  featured  a  group  of  employees.  Detectives  saw  that 
Dwain  Little  was  standing  right  beside  Margie  Hunter  in 
the  photo  on  the  card.  She  may  not  have  noticed  him — but 
it  was  quite  possible  that  he  had  noticed  her,  learned 
,  where  she  lived,  and  made  a  practice  of  driving  the  road- 
ways near  her  apartment.  On  June  2,  1980,  he  had  no  busi- 
ness at  all  there  as  he  drove  up  and  down  the  Old  Highway 
99.  No  business,  perhaps,  but  watching  Margie. 


Wes  Cowden,  Richard's  brother,  has  gone  over  endless 
possibilities  of  what  might  have  happened  to  Richard, 
Belinda,  David,  and  Melissa,  or  why  anyone  would  target 
them.  It  was  possible  someone  had  been  watching  Belinda 
while  Richard  and  David  were  at  the  country  store — and 
Richard  walked  in  on  an  attack  on  his  wife.  More  likely, 
he  had  looked  first  at  the  killer  carrying  a  .22  rifle  as  just 
another  camper.  Wes  described  Richard  as  "trusting"  and 
thought  he'd  probably  struck  up  a  conversation  with  a 
stranger. 


427 


ANN  RULE 

"You  don't  want  to  get  in  my  brother's  situation,"  Wes 
said.  "Because  I'm  sure  things  were  out  of  control  before 
he  even  knew  there  was  a  problem. 

"My  brother  was  different  than  me,"  he  continued.  "On 
an  outing  like  that,  he  wouldn't  have  been  carrying  a 
weapon.  And  I  wouldn't  think  about  being  up  there  with- 
out one." 

Wes  Cowden's  children  and  other  members  of  their  ex- 
tended family  still  live  with  the  threat  that  someone  might 
have  a  grudge  against  them.  Someone  who  walks  free. 
Wes  Cowden  isn't  convinced  that  Dwain  Lee  Little  killed 
Richard  and  his  family.  "I'd  still  like  to  know  for  sure  who 
did  it,  and  that  if  Little  did  do  it,  he'll  never  be  freed  from 
prison." 

It  is  a  terrible  legacy  for  Wes  and  his  sister,  Susan,  to 
live  with.  And  it's  a  chilling  fear  in  the  small  communities 
and  homes  near  Carberry  and  Sturgis  creeks  and  the  Ap- 
plegate  Valley  area,  especially  when  the  Spanish  moss 
droops  from  the  trees,  ground  fog  covers  the  forest  floor  in 
autumn,  and  old  memories  come  back. 

Some  old-timers  there  say  the  campground  is  haunted. 

There  is  still  the  chance  that  some  infinitesimal  evi- 
dence or  a  rusted  .22-caliber  gun  is  up  there,  and  that  elk 
hunters,  loggers,  or  campers  who  have  never  heard  of  the 
Cowden  family  will  find  it. 

If  they  do  come  across  something  that  seems  useless  to 
them,  but  which  might  be  purer  gold  than  any  amateur 
miner  could  find  there,  they  should  contact  the  Oregon 
State  Police. 


428 


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IN  THE  STILL  OF  THE  NIGHT 

Ann  Rule 


Available  in  hardcover 

May  2010 

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I 


IN  THE  STILL  OF 
THE  NIGHT: 

THE  STRANGE  DEATH 
OF  RONDA  REYNOLDS 


Even  those  who  view  a  glass  as  half-fiill  have  mo- 
ments when  they  wonder  if  their  Hves  are  too  perfect  to 
last.  For  some,  the  warm  wafting  breezes  of  spring  redo- 
lent with  the  fragrance  of  flowers  are  difficult;  there  is  too 
much  nostalgia  to  deal  with.  For  others,  a  new  love  can 
bring  with  it  a  fear  of  losing  something  more  precious 
than  we  ever  could  have  imagined.  Similarly,  holidays  are 
times  fraught  with  tension  for  many  people. 

Everyone  hopes  for-  a  warm  and  loving  gathering  of 
family  and  friends,  doors  locked  against  the  outside  world 
once  everyone  arrives.  And  yet  there  is  an  almost  sublimi- 
nal fear  that  someone  we  love  could  be  in  an  accident  on 
the  way  to  Grandmother's  house  or  wherever  the  celebra- 
tion is  to  be  held. 

At  Thanksgiving  and  Christmas,  weather  conditions 
can  be  icy  and  stormy,  making  roads  dangerous  to  traverse 
and  weighing  down  the  wings  of  planes. 

We  worry,  usually  silently,  and  watch  the  clock  until 
our  roll  call  is  complete.  To  lose  someone  on  a  holiday 
means  that  every  anniversary  that  comes  after  will  be 
marked  by  sorrowfiil  remembrance. 

433 


I  suspect  that  mothers  agonize  the  most.  Even  when  our 
children  are  grown,  we  would  much  prefer  them  to  be  safe 
beneath  our  wings,  and  sometimes  we  long  for  the  days 
when  we  could  tuck  them  into  cribs  and  know  that  we 
were  there  to  protect  them  from  any  harm. 

Barb  Thompson  was  like  that,  even  though  she  rarely 
betrayed  her  concern.  She  wanted  her  two  children  to 
grow  up,  realize  their  dreams,  and  fly  free.  Like  all  good 
mothers,  she  had  let  go  of  her  babies,  confident  that  they 
were  independent  and  fiilly  capable  adults,  able  to  take 
care  of  themselves. 

And  they  hadn't  let  her  down;  her  daughter,  Ronda, 
thirty-three,  was  a  Washington  state  trooper  for  almost  a 
decade,  for  heaven's  sake,  responsible  for  the  safety  of 
others  as  well  as  herself  If  she  couldn't  take  care  of  her- 
self, what  woman  could? 

Barb's  son.  Freeman,  was  almost  a  decade  younger  than 
Ronda.  Barb  was  very  young  when  Ronda  was  born,  only 
twenty-one,  and  it  probably  was  just  as  well  that  she  had 
only  her  daughter  to  raise  then.  It  hadn't  been  easy  for 
Barb.  The  responsibility  of  bringing  up  her  children  on  her 
own  much  of  the  time  was  a  challenge.  Nevertheless,  Bar- 
bara always  put  them  first,  and  she  often  worked  two  jobs 
to  support  them. 

Although  she  and  her  mother,  Virginia  Ramsey,  had 
tangled  often  when  she  was  a  child  and  a  teenager,  it  was 
Virginia  who  became  Barb's  strongest  support.  Virginia 
had  been  married  for  more  than  twenty  years  to  the  only 
man  she  had  ever  loved,  bringing  up  three  children  on 
"less  than  a  shoestring,"  when  Barb's  father  deserted  her 
for  another  woman.  She  was  totally  devastated. 


"Somehow,"  Barb  recalled,  "Ronda's  birth  gave  her  a 
reason  to  go  on,  and  I  sure  did  need  her.  She  took  care  of 
Ronda  while  I  worked  as  many  jobs  as  I  could,  helped  me 
raise  my  little  girl.  She  never  complained.  My  mom  was 
always  there — and  Ronda  cherished  her  grandmother." 

Although  Barb  would  have  romantic  relationships  from 
time  to  time,  the  core  of  her  family  would  always  be  her 
children — Ronda  and  Freeman — her  mother,  Virginia,  and 
Barb  herself  They  had  seen  one  another  thiough  so  many 
hard  times  and  always  emerged  together. 

Ronda  was  a  lovely-looking  child  with  a  face  like  a 
rose,  something  that  would  never  change.  She  was  Virgin- 
ia's first  grandchild,  and  her  "Gramma"  often  said  she  was 
"an  angel  in  disguise." 

"She  never  caused  us  any  trouble,"  Barb  Thompson 
said.  "She  had  perfect  attendance  and  straight  As  all  the 
way  through  the  ninth  grade.  She  was  never  rebellious, 
and  she  never  touched  drugs  or  alcohol.  Gramma  taught 
her  to  sew  and  cook  and  do  all  the  girly  stuff,  and  if  she 
got  in  trouble  for  not  doing  her  homework  or  chores,  she 
went  to  Gramma  for  comfort.  My  mother  was  there  to 
share  her  dreams  and  plans  and  her  crushes  with.  She  was 
Ronda's  'safe  place.'" 

Ronda  had  many  dreams,  and  she  managed  to  carry  out 
a  lot  of  them.  She  loved  dogs  and  horses,  and  she  was  a 
champion  equestrian  before  she  was  a  teenager.  She 
shared  her  love  of  horses  with  her  mother,  who  was  often 
up  before  dawn  to  take  care  of  the  horses  on  her  land  near 
Spokane. 

When  Ronda  was  seventeen,  she  had  her  own  quarter 
horse,  a  gelding  she  called  Clabber  Toe.  She  and  Clabber 


Toe  managed  to  travel  to  the  1984  Quarter  Horse  Youth 
World  Show  in  Tulsa,  Oklahoma,  where  they  cleared 
jumps  as  easily  as  if  Clabber  Toe  had  wings.  Ronda  had 
saved  her  money  and  two  local  trainers  in  Spokane  had 
helped.  They'd  recognized  Ronda 's  innate  talent  and  ad- 
mired her  devotion  to  practice  that  took  many  hours. 

Ronda  had  another  dream.  She  wanted  to  grow  up  to  be 
a  Washington  state  patrol  trooper.  That  was  a  tall  order; 
there  were  no  female  officers  when  Ronda  was  a  little  girl. 
There  weren't  even  any  short  troopers.  The  image  of  the 
state  patrol  was  one  of  tall  men,  wearing  blue-gray  uni- 
forms and  wide-brimmed  hats. 

That  didn't  daunt  Ronda.  She  had  taken  on  challenges 
all  of  her  life  and  she  knew  that  women  were  beginning  to 
take  their  place  beside  men  in  law  enforcement.  She  never 
gave  up  on  her  plans  to  be  a  trooper,  although  she  could 
not  have  imagined  some  of  the  problems  her  femininity  in 
a  male  world  would  bring. 

The  pretty  girl  from  eastern  Washington  wanted  it  all — 
as  people  tend  to  say  about  women  who  work  and  hope  to 
have  a  family/home  life,  too. 

She  wanted  to  marry  one  day,  and,  especially,  to  have 
children. 

She  almost  achieved  it  all. 


It  was  Wednesday,  December  16,  1998.  Christmas  season. 
Ronda  lived  over  on  what  Washingtonians  call  "the  coast," 
and  the  rest  of  her  family  lived  three  hundred  miles  away 
in  Spokane.  Barbara  was  looking  forward  to  a  five-day 
visit  from  Ronda,  as  were  her  grandmother  and  brother.  It 


wouldn't  exactly  be  a  Norman  Rockwell  Christmas,  al- 
though Spokane  could  count  on  snow.  It  was  far  colder  in 
eastern  Washington  than  it  was  in  Seattle. 

Ronda's  visit  wasn't  really  to  celebrate  the  holiday;  she 
was  going  home  to  those  who  loved  her  for  comfort  and 
advice.  After  eleven  years  as  a  Washington  state  trooper, 
she  had  resigned  from  the  force.  Her  life  seemed  to  be 
crashing  down  around  her  like  boulders  breaking  free  of 
unstable  cliffs  in  the  mountain  passes,  which  often  hap- 
pened. Her  first  marriage — to  a  fellow  trooper — had  ended 
in  divorce,  and  her  second  marriage  of  less  than  a  year's 
duration  was  almost  over.  She  was  far  from  giving  up;  she 
was  too  strong  for  that,  but  she  needed  to  come  home  to 
her  center  while  she  decided  what  to  do  next. 

Ronda  never  spent  much  time  weeping  about  her  mis- 
fortunes in  life.  Rather,  she  got  mad,  and  she  had  always 
managed  to  come  back  wiser,  but  not  more  bitter.  In  that, 
she  was  like  her  mother.  The  two  of  them  would  talk,  and 
weigh  different  options,  and  Ronda  would  rise  like  a  phoe- 
nix from  the  ashes  of  her  marriage  to  Ron  Reynolds. 

Although  Barb  Thompson  had  kept  her  mouth  shut,  she 
had  never  understood  Ronda's  attraction  to  Ronald  Reyn- 
olds. He  was  at  least  twenty  years  older  than  she  was,  a 
school  principal,  and  a  very  active  Jehovah's  Witness.  He 
wasn't  nearly  as  handsome  as  Mark  Liburdi,  the  trooper 
who  was  her  first  husband. 

And  when  Ronda  met  him,  Ron  was  married  with  five 
sons,  three  of  them  still  living  at  home! 

When  Ronda  was  grieving  for  the  loss  of  her  first  mar- 
riage, the  career  she  had  loved,  and  her  failure  to  carry  a 
child  to  term,  Ron  Reynolds  had  offered  himself  as  her 


spiritual  counselor  and  her  concerned  advisor.  Long  be- 
fore she  fell  in  love  with  Ron,  he  had  divested  himself  of 
his  wife. 

And  Ron  and  Ronda  were  married  in  January  1998. 
She  had  high  hopes  for  them.  Always  generous,  Ronda 
brought  her  furniture  to  Ron's  house  and  put  almost  all  of 
her  $15,000  retirement  pay  from  the  Washington  State  Pa- 
trol into  the  house  they  now  shared  on  Twin  Peaks  Drive  in 
Toledo,  Washington. 

Ron  moved  his  three  youngest  sons  into  the  house,  and 
Ronda  brought  her  beloved  Rottweillers.  If  there  had  only 
been  room,  she  would  have  brought  Clabber  Toe,  too. 

It  was  a  new  year  and  a  new  life  for  her,  and  for  her 
husband. 


i 


Chapter  One 


It  was  1:40  a.m.  on  Wednesday,  December  16,  1998, 
when  Barb  Thompson  was  jarred  from  sleep  by  the  sound 
of  her  phone  ringing.  Groggy,  she  reached  across  her  bed 
for  it,  knowing  after  it  rang  five  times  that  her  answering 
machine  would  pick  up.  She  grabbed  it  on  the  third  ring, 
muttering,  "Hello." 

She  heard  only  the  buzz  of  the  dial  tone. 

She  lay  awake,  wondering  if  she  had  been  dreaming — 
but  she  was  sure  it  really  had  rung.  Expecting  it  to  ring 
again,  she  waited.  There  was  nothing  more. 

Barb  had  talked  to  Ronda  less  than  two  hours  earlier. 
Her  daughter  had  been  calling  from  her  home  in  Toledo, 
Washington,  a  tiny  town  located  halfway  between  Seattle 
and  Portland,  Oregon.  Ronda  said  then  that  she  would  be 
flying  to  Spokane  on  that  Wednesday,  scheduled  to  arrive 
at  12:59  p.m.  She  had  debated  flying  out  of  Portland,  but 
had  decided  to  take  an  Alaska  Airlines  flight  from  SeaTac 
Airport  in  Seattle.  A  longtime  friend,  a  police  officer  in 
Des  Moines,  Washington,  whom  Ronda  had  once  almost 
married,  had  offered  to  drive  the  seventy  miles  to  Toledo 
to  pick  her  up  and  drive  her  back  north  to  SeaTac  Airport. 


The  two,  mother  and  daughter,  had  talked  for  a  long 
time.  Ronda  was  actually  quite  upbeat  in  her  attitude  when 
she  said  she  didn't  mind  walking  away  from  her  short 
marriage,  but  that  she  was  determined  to  recoup  the  thou- 
sands of  dollars  she  had  put  into  the  house,  along  with  all 
her  efforts  in  painting,  decorating,  and  making  it  a  home. 

"I'm  actually  looking  forward  to  getting  on  with  my 
life.  Mom,"  Ronda  said.  "I  just  need  a  few  days  with  you 
guys  to  decide  a  definite  course  of  action." 

"You're  sure?"  Barb  asked.  "You  don't  have  to  put  on  a 
happy  face  for  me.  You  know  that." 

"I'm  sure.  I'm  fine.  I  can't  wait  to  see  you  all  tomor- 
row." 

Freeman,  Ronda 's  "little"  brother  who  was  seven  inches 
taller  than  she  was,  would  take  his  mother  to  the  airport  in 
Spokane.  Then  they  would  swing  by  Gramma  Virginia's 
house — which  was  right  next  door  to  Barb's. 

They  were  all  beside  themselves  with  anticipation;  they 
hadn't  had  a  chance  to  really  visit  with  Ronda  since  Moth- 
er's Day.  That  was  when  Ronda  had  put  an  adorable  tum- 
ble of  black  puppy  fluff  in  her  mother's  arms.  Daisy  was  a 
very  big  dog  now,  and  Barb  wanted  to  show  her  daughter 
what  good  care  she  had  taken  of  her.  Ronda  also  had  a 
new  filly  she  hadn't  seen  since  Mother's  Day  when  the  colt 
was  only  a  few  days  old.  And,  of  course,  there  was  Clabber 
Toe.  He  would  recognize  Ronda  at  once,  and  it  wouldn't 
be  long  before  the  two  of  them  would  go  riding  off  across 
Barb's  acreage. 

Freeman  pulled  up  in  front  of  the  Spokane  airport,  and 
Barbara  asked  him  if  he  wanted  to  go  to  the  gate  to  meet 
his  sister. 


"No,  Mom,  you  go.  I  think  I  can  wait.  Til  watch  the 
door  and  get  her  baggage  when  you  guys  get  back  here." 

He  hadn't  quite  brought  his  car  to  a  complete  stop 
when  Barb  leaped  onto  the  curb  and  whirled  around  to 
close  the  door. 

"Slow  down.  Mom,"  he  laughed.  "She's  not  going  any- 
where. You  have  plenty  of  time." 

Barb  Thompson  walked  into  the  main  terminal,  realiz- 
ing at  once  that  she'd  forgotten  the  airport  was  in  the  midst 
of  a  massive  remodeling.  She  had  to  walk  all  the  way  to 
the  far  north  end  of  the  terminal  to  reach  the  Alaska  and 
Horizon  Airlines  arrival  gate. 

It  suddenly  became  intensely  important  that  she 
glimpse  Ronda  and  give  her  a  big  hug.  But  when  she  got 
to  the  gate,  she  found  out  that  Ronda 's  flight  had  been  can- 
celled, and  the  next  flight  from  Seattle  wasn't  scheduled  to 
arrive  until  just  before  3:00  p.m. 

Freeman's  face  dropped  when  he  heard  that.  "She's  on 
flight  2198  now,"  his  mother  told  him.  "It's  due  in  at  two 
fifty-five  p.m.  It's  not  that  much  longer." 

It  was  just  a  little  over  two  more  hours,  but  it  seemed  an 
eternity  to  Barb  and  Freeman.  They  drove  home,  not  stop- 
ping at  Gramma  Virginia's  house.  The  phone  was  ringing 
as  they  walked  in  the  door.  Barb  expected  it  to  be  Ronda, 
calling  as  she  always  did  if  she  had  a  change  in  plans  so 
they  wouldn't  worry.  But  it  was  her  own  mother,  demand- 
ing to  know  why  they  hadn't  dropped  in  with  Ronda. 

"Her  flight  was  delayed.  Mom,"  Barb  said.  "We  have  to 
go  back  to  the  airport  at  three.  Freeman's  on  his  way  to 
your  house  now  to  grab  a  bowl  of  cereal.  He'll  pick  me  up 
at  two  fifteen." 


"Dam,"  Ronda's  grandmother  said.  "I  don't  know  if  I 
can  wait  that  long." 

Barb  tried  to  make  her  mother  feel  better  by  telling  her 
that  Ronda  would  surely  have  called  if  she  had  changed 
her  mind  and  wasn't  coming.  Ronda  always  called. 
"You're  right,  Gramma.  I  just  want  her  here  now,  too!  , 
Maybe  she'll  decide  to  transfer  after  her  probationary  six| 
months  on  her  store  security  job,  and  then  we'll  have  her 
here  all  the  time.  Wouldn't  that  be  great?" 

"Don't  get  your  hopes  up.  You  know  how  she  feels 
about  the  weather  over  here." 

Barb  busied  herself  loading  the  dishwasher,  and  just  as 
she'd  put  the  last  plate  in  its  slot,  she  glanced  out  the  win- 
dow over  the  kitchen  sink.  She  saw  a  green-and-white 
squad  car  parked  at  her  mother's  house.  It  looked  like  a 
Spokane  County  Sheriff's  unit. 

She  wasn't  alarmed.  Whenever  there  was  a  loose  or  in- 
jured horse,  the  deputies  usually  came  to  her  to  ask  her 
who  owned  them.  She  was  the  "go-to"  expert  on  horses  in 
her  end  of  the  county. 

Daisy  sat  by  the  door  expectantly,  her  whole  body  wig- 
gling with  delight  as  she  was  about  to  meet  someone  new. 
Daisy  knew  no  strangers.  She  was  always  looking  for 
someone  to  play  with. 

Barb  was  usually  glad  to  help  round  up  wayward 
horses,  but  it  never  took  less  than  two  hours.  Right  now, 
she  didn't  want  to  be  delayed  when  she  was  just  about  to 
go  back  to  the  airport  to  pick  up  Ronda. 

But  she  realized  that  she  couldn't  refuse  to  help;  she 
lived  so  close  to  a  four-lane,  much-traveled  highway. 
Ronda,  of  all  people,  would  understand  and  she  could  call 


Gramma  Virginia  when  she  landed  if  Barb  wasn't  home. 

She  opened  her  front  door,  and  an  older  man  stood 
there,  gazing  with  some  doubt  into  Daisy's  brown  eyes. 
Barb  grinned  at  the  stranger  and  said,  "She's  okay — she 
doesn't  know  she's  a  Rottweiler.  She's  hoping  you've 
come  to  play  with  her." 

At  that  point,  Barb  Thompson  saw  that  her  visitor  had  a 
bar  with  writing  etched  on  it  pinned  to  his  shirt.  She 
leaned  forward  and  read  "Chaplain." 

But  what  was  he  doing  at  her  front  door?  Her  world 
tilted  only  a  centimeter  off  its  endless  axis  and  she  felt  a 
knot  in  the  pit  of  her  stomach.  A  chaplain  usually  meant 
something  bad  had  happened  to  someone. 

She  would  not  allow  herself  to  believe  that  had  any 
connection  to  her. 

"Are  you  Barbara  Thompson?"  the  gray-haired  man 
asked. 

"Yes,  I  am,"  she  said,  opening  the  door  wider.  "But  I 
only  have  a  couple  of  minutes.  We  have  to  get  to  the  air- 
port to  pick  up  my  daughter." 

He  hesitated  for  a  moment,  and  then  said,  "I  have  a 
message  here.  I'm  so  sorry  to  tell  you  that  your  mother 
has  passed  away  and  you  need  to  call  your  father." 

Relief  washed  over  Barb's  body.  Whatever  had  hap- 
pened, it  couldn't  involve  her  or  her  family.  "That  can't  be 
right,"  she  said.  "My  father  passed  away  years  ago,  and  my 
mother  lives  right  next  door.  You  were  just  at  her  house." 

The  chaplain  pressed  on.  "I  have  a  message  that  you  are 
to  call  your  father  at  the  coroner's  office  in  Lewis  County." 

She  felt  dizzy.  Lewis  County?  She  didn't  know  anyone 
in  Lewis  County.  Lewis  County,  where?  What  state? 


"Do  you  have  a  telephone  number?  Do  you  have  a 
nameT' 

He  shook  his  head,  apologizing.  "I'm  sorry — ^but  that's 
all  I  have." 

"Was  there  anything  about  a  Ramsey,  or  a  Clark,  Li- 
burdi  or  Reynolds?" 

Again,  he  shook  his  head.  If  he  hadn't  arrived  in  a  sher- 
iff's car,  she  would  have  thought  the  man  was  demented — 
someone  who  went  around  knocking  on  strange  doors  and 
scaring  the  hell  out  of  people.  Why  didn  't  he  have  more 
information?  This  could  all  be  resolved  so  quickly  if  he 
only  had  a  name  to  give  her. 

''Your  name  is  Barbara  Thompson,  right?"  he  pressed. 

"Yes,  that's  me.  But  my  mother  is  right  next  door  and 
she  is  very  much  alive.  There  must  be  a  mistake  here." 

"This  is7\0  West  Highway  Two,  isn't  it?" 

"Yes." 

"This  is  definitely  the  address  and  name  I  was  given, 
and  I  was  told  to  tell  you  that  you  need  to  call  your  father." 

Barbara  wished  Freeman  would  show  up.  The  "chap- 
lain" was  giving  her  the  creeps. 

She  suddenly  recalled  that  there  was  another  Barbara 
Thompson  living  in  Spokane,  a  woman  who  worked  at  the 
racetrack.  In  the  past,  she  had  received  some  of  the  other 
Barbara's  mail  and  phone  calls.  She  didn't  have  any  idea 
where  the  other  woman  lived,  but  she  was  sure  the  sher- 
iff's office  could  find  out.  Barb  looked  at  her  watch  and 
told  the  chaplain  that  she  really  had  to  leave  for  the  air- 
port. 

Once  more.  Barb  jumped  from  her  son's  car  and  headed 
for  the  Alaska/Horizon  arrival  gate.   Luckily,  Ronda's 


plane  wouldn't  land  for  another  fifteen  minutes.  Barb 
knew  she  had  plenty  of  time,  but  she  found  herself  run- 
ning down  the  corridor,  darting  between  people,  baggage, 
children,  and  strollers.  All  the  chairs  were  taken  when  she 
got  to  the  gate,  but  she  didn't  care.  She  stood  with  her  eyes 
glued  to  the  double  doors  that  would  soon  spring  open  and 
release  scores  of  passengers.  And  Ronda  would  be  one  of 
them. 

"It  was  Christmastime,"  Barbara  Thompson  remem- 
bered a  decade  later.  "Joy  and  laughter  were  in  the  air.  We 
would  be  having  Christmas  together  for  the  first  time  in 
nearly  eight  years.  Ronda  had  to  leave  on  the  twenty-first 
so  we  planned  Christmas  dinner  and  our  gift  exchange 
early.  It  was  enough  that  we  could  just  be  together." 

It  was  2:50  p.m.  and  Barb  watched  the  incoming  planes 
circle  in  the  cold  sky  and  then  taxi  into  their  gates.  Finally, 
she  saw  the  Alaska  Airlines  jet  and  knew  it  must  be  Ron- 
da's  plane.  She  watched  the  ground  crew  wave  their  big 
orange  wands  and  lead  it  into  a  covered  ramp,  then  heard 
its  engines  winding  down. 

In  her  mind,  she  could  see  Ronda 's  face.  She  knew  her 
daughter  would  be  one  of  the  last  to  deplane;  she  liked  to 
let  all  those  with  babies,  the  elderly,  and  disabled  passen- 
gers exit  safely,  and  she  always  grinned  widely  when  she 
saw  her  mother's  face  change  fi-om  impatience  to  delight. 

Barb  stretched  and  strained  her  neck,  to  see  beyond  the 
departing  passengers  as  far  as  she  could.  At  3:00,  the  last 
of  them  straggled  in — a  mother  holding  a  baby  in  one 
arm,  and  a  little  girl  about  five  crying  and  pulling  on  her 
other  arm. 

No  one  else.  But  that  could  not  be.  Two  flight  atten- 


dants  walked  past  Barb,  pulling  their  luggage,  talking  and 
joking,  and  the  plane's  door  slammed  shut  behind  them. 
She  wanted  to  confront  them  and  demand  to  know  where 
Ronda  was.  But  she  didn't. 

"I  was  suddenly  nauseated,"  Barb  Thompson  recalled. 
"My  mind  whirled  and  I  felt  dizzy.  Where  was  Ronda?  I 
could  see  the  chaplain's  face  in  my  mind  now.  His  words 
were  screaming  in  my  ears.  'Your  father  wants  you  to  call 
him  at  the  Lewis  County  Coroner's  Office.'  It  hit  me  like  a 
ton  of  bricks.  Oh  my  God!  My  babyl  No,  no,  it  can't  be! 
He  hadn't  been  talking  about  my  little  girl.  She  must  have 
just  fallen  asleep  and  didn't  get  off  the  plane.  Any  moment 
now  the  doors  will  swing  open  and  there  she'll  be." 

But  Ronda  wasn't  there.  She  hadn't  been  on  the  plane, 
or  even  on  the  manifest  list  of  passengers. 

Barb  made  up  every  possible  reason  why  her  daughter 
hadn't  arrived  as  she  had  promised— every  reason  but  the 
one  that  tortured  her  the  most.  She  simply  could  not  face 
that  possibility. 

Finally,  she  dialed  Information  and  asked  for  the  num- 
ber of  the  Lewis  County  Coroner's  Office.  When  the  oper- 
ator asked  her  the  state.  Barb  still  didn't  know.  At  length, 
the  operator  came  back  on  the  line  and  gave  her  a  number 
beginning  with  a  "360"  prefix.  Barb's  knees  buckled.  That 
was  Ronda 's  prefix. 

Lewis  County  hadn't  meant  anything  to  her;  she 
thought  Ronda  lived  in  Thurston  County. 

Knowing  what  she  didn't  want  to  know.  Barb  Thomp- 
son called  the  number  for  the  corone^r's  office.  She  identi- 
fied herself  to  the  voice  that  answered. 

"Are  you  Ronda  Reynolds's  mother?" 


"Yes  ...  I  am." 

"I'm  sorry  to  inform  you  that  your  daughter  died  this 
morning." 

''How?  "  Barbara  didn't  recognize  her  own  voice.  It  was 
hollow. 

"Your  daughter  committed  suicide  ..." 


She  didn't  believe  it.  She  never  would.  Over  eleven  years, 
Barb  Thompson  has  worked  to  find  the  truth  about  her 
daughter's  death.  She  has  seen  it  declared  suicide,  acci- 
dental, unexplained,  and  then  suicide  again. 

But  nothing  fits.  Nothing  matches.  There  are  a  number 
of  suspects  in  Ronda's  death  and  a  number  of  motives.  By 
the  end  of  In  the  Still  of  the  Night,  the  answer  will  surface. 
Readers  may  well  be  instrumental  in  finding  the  truth,  and 
in  doing  that,  find  justice  at  last  for  Ronda  Reynolds. 


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ANNRUU 


is  the  author  of  twenty-nine 
New  York  Times  bestsellers, 
all  of  them  still  in  print.  A 
former  Seattle  police  officer, 
she  knows  the  crime  scene 
firsthand.  She  is  a  certified 
instructor  for  police  training 
seminars  and  lectures  to  law  enforcement  officers, 
prosecutors,  and  forensic  science  organizations, 
including  the  FBI.  For  more  than  three  decades,  she 
has  been  a  powerful  advocate  for  victims  of  violent 
crime.  She  has  testified  before  U.S.  Senate  Judiciary 
subcommittees  on  serial  murder  and  victims'  rights, 
and  was  a  civilian  adviser  to  VI-CAP  (Violent 
Criminal  Apprehension  Program).  A  graduate  of 
the  University  of  Washington,  she  holds  a  Ph.D.  in 
Humane  Letters  from  Willamette  University.  She 
lives  near  Seattle  and  can  be  contacted  through  her 
Web  page  at  www.annrules.com. 


ISBN  978-1-4165-4223 


$7.99  U.S./$10.99  Can. 
54223  a. 


THE  MOST  FATAL  MISTAKE? 


Witting  victims  whose  last  disbelieving 


Trust.  It's  the  foundation  oF  any  enduring  relat4onship  between 
friends,  lovers,  spouses,  and  families.  But  when  trust  is  placed  in 
LOse  who  are  not  what  they  seem,  the  results  can  he  deadly.  Ann 
Rule,  who  famously  chronicled  her  own  shocking  experience  oil 
unknowingly  befriending  a  sociopath  in  The  Stranger  Besir'  ^ ' 
offers  a  riveting,  all-new  collection  from  her  true-crime  files,  with 
the  lethally  shattered  bonds  of  trust  at  the  core  of  each  blood- 
soaked  account.  Whether  driven  to  extreme  violence  by  greed 
or  jealousy,  passion  or  rage,  these  calculating  sociopaths  targeted 
those  closest  to  them — unwitting  victims  whose  last  disbelievina 
ds  could  well  have  been  "but  I  trusted  you.  .  .  ."  Headlining 
this  page-turning  anthology  is  the  case  of  middle-school  mnn^iplnr 
Chuck  Leonard,  found  shot  to  death  outside  his  Washingiou  oLait- 
Jiome  on  an  icy  February  morning.  A  complicated  mix  of  family 
mcTn-and  wild  man,  'Chuck  played  hard  and  loved  many  .  .  .  but 
who  crossed  the  line  by  murdering  him  in  cold  blood?  And  why? 
The  revelation  is  as  stunning  as  the  shattering  crime  itself,  power- 
fully illuminating  how  those^  we  think  we  know  can  ingeniously 
hide  their  destructiv^e  and  homicidal  designs.  Along  with  other 

_--ig  cases,  immaculately  detailed  andsharply  analyzed  by 

America's  *1  true-crime  writer,  this  fourteenth  Crime  Files  vol- 
ume is  essential  reading  for  getting  inside  the  mind  of  the  hidden 


BUT  I  TRUSTED  YOU 

Inside:  Read  an  excerpt  from  Ann  Rule's 
thrilling  new  truc'crime  hardcover! 


'HAN  30  MILLION  COPIES  OF  ANN  RULE'S  BOOKS  IN  PRINT: 


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